A BUSINESS which was targeted in a homophobic Facebook rant by a competing firm's page has been swamped with support from the community and social media users.
An online storm erupted when a message attacking "poofs" at a Hatton Vale aquarium store was posted on the Facebook page of the Hatton Vale Nursery this week.
Thousands of outraged Facebook users shared the Hattonvale Nursery message and hundreds posted comments condemning the anti-gay abuse.
And a rally by gay-rights supporters will be held at Hatton Vale Nursery at 10am tomorrow.
The comment on the Hattonvale Nursery page on Wednesday said: "To those two poofs up at Wet Dream aquarium why don't you stick to what you do best and sell fish and not plants and where are your ethics in business? PS in the bible it's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve."
Minutes later the first of hundreds of comments started flooding in, condemning the original comment and supporting the Wet Dreams proprietors.
They included: "They can sell what they want. Enjoy your loss of business; this is going to be spread all around."
"For someone promoting a business on Facebook the language is disturbing: really doesn't make you want to deal with people like that. I certainly won't be back."
"How you feel about someone else's business or their sexuality should have nothing to do with your business or your company's page."
On its page Wet Dreams Aquatics thanked people for their support.
A comment was later posted from Hattonvale Nursery saying, "To all the people that has a problem with what was said on this page you all must have a very big problem because I didn't say once I dislike gays or all the people with titles."
Yesterday the Hattonvale Nursery page had been taken down and a new page had appeared - Hattonvale Nursery Gay Pride.
One of its first posts was a notice for a protest march on Sunday, meeting at 10am at Wet Dream Aquatics.
"From there we will go on to Hattonvale Nursery and peacefully protest to let them know they can't get away with hateful comments about people based on their sexuality," it says.
The two men at the centre of the social media storm said they didn't want to comment in case it inflamed the situation.
They hoped their long-time clients would stick with them and said they have been selling plants for the past six years.
Neighbouring business expressed with support.
One said: "I think people should try to get along; we should try to be friends and help each other."
Another said: "I don't think people should say that about other people. People shouldn't be so nasty" and another said: "I think people's sexual preference should be kept out of it."
Hatton Vale Nursery could not be contacted for comment.