Canada

Canadian who shares name, occupation with Trump supporter who stormed U.S. Capitol harassed online

TORONTO —
Ontario real estate agent Jenna Ryan has never received a bad review in her career.

At least until another agent by the same name stormed the U.S. Capitol this month.

Among the hundreds of rioters that broke their way into the American symbol of democracy on Jan. 6, incited by U.S. President Donald Trump, was a Texas realtor and life coach.

That Jenna Ryan, who even bears a resemblance to the Canadian Jenna Ryan, reportedly flew on a private jet from Frisco to join the march in Washington. She was pictured wearing a Trump toque walking through the building, and posing in front of a smashed window, smiling and holding up a peace sign. She tweeted her presence and intent throughout the entire day, sharing messages and videos from the steps of the building, including:

“We just stormed the Capital. It was one of the best days of my life.” 

On Friday, federal authorities in Dallas arrested and charged the American Jenna Ryan for disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority, according to reports. 

For the Canadian Jenna Ryan, who lives in the northern Ontario city of Sudbury, that Jenna Ryan’s decision on Jan. 6 has made for a chaotic start to her 2021, more than 1,100 kilometres away from the U.S. Capitol Building.

“Maybe I’ll go back to 2020. I feel like I liked it better,” she joked with CTVNews.ca over the phone on Friday.

After the storming of the Capitol earlier this month, social media was flooded with sleuthing internet users attempting to expose the rioters. When the American Jenna Ryan’s identity was revealed, the Canadian Jenna Ryan started getting inundated with messages. The first was a bad review on her Google business page, which took her by surprise, since she had never received a negative rating online before. 

“I ignored it. I thought it was some crazy person online,” she said. But Ryan was soon inundated with emails, Facebook messages, comments and international calls. She removed her number from various web pages and contacted social media companies for help, but it hasn’t made much of a difference. It died down after a few days, but with the news of the woman’s arrest, on Friday, the calls have started up again. 

“Every derogatory thing you could say to a person, none of which you can probably write in a news article,” she told CTVNews.ca. 

Almost more alarming than the messages of hate were the messages of support, some even calling her a “patriot,” believing her to be the American Jenna Ryan.

“No one is fact checking,” she said. “I find comfort in the fact that I know that, locally, there’s nobody out to get me so to speak. But at this point it’s exhausting.”

Since the storming of the Capitol, she has received hundreds of harassing messages online and by phone, taking up valuable time from her real estate business. Some have suggested that she delete profiles or change her name online, but her name and image are closely tied to her business.

“I can’t vanish because this is my livelihood,” she said. Though she hasn’t experienced a reduction in business, she is worried that the negative onslaught could impact her real estate brand. 

“I just want to go back to selling real estate and being the normal Jenna Ryan. How to get there, I don’t actually know.” 


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