Annie's Campground: Owner slammed for using boy’s drowning death to promote bookings

The owner of Annie's Campground, Ann Retzlaff, took to Facebook to comment on the unidentified 5-year-old's death - inviting backlash and criticism.


                            Annie's Campground: Owner slammed for using boy’s drowning death to promote bookings
The Shawano County Sheriff's Department is reportedly investigating the drowning (Photo by Suparat Malipoom / EyeEm/ Getty Images)

A Facebook post from a Wisconsin campground is at the centre of controversy after it was accused of trying to take advantage of a tragic event in which a child drowned in their pool. The owner of Annie's Campground took to Facebook to comment on the unidentified 5-year-old's death - inviting backlash and criticism.

People took issues with Ann Retzlaff, who wrote what seemed like an insensitive post, saying the child who drowned was in a better place, and then promoting her space in the same post.

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According to the latest report in local news outlet WAOW, Retzlaff's post was meant to be sympathetic to the young boy who drowned, and started off declaring that it was intended for "Lovers of Freedom, who believe in God, who are helpful to others and who are supportive of the Truth."

"Know that Little Man is in a much better place filled with the Loving Arms of our Lord, Jesus the Christ," she wrote in the Facebook post. "May God's White Light Shine upon the Campground and the many loving families here to appreciate our Freedom that we must still fight to keep. BE the voice and Protector of those innocent ones who can not Protect and Defend themselves."

The boy drowned on the night of Friday, July 2, 2021, at the campground near Seneca, according to the Shawano County Sheriff's Department. When first responders arrived on the scene at W12505 Roosevelt Road about 8:23 pm, they reportedly found the boy unresponsive at the swimming area of the campground. Reports say that even though some people and deputies performed CPR and made other attempts to save the boy's life, he did not come through. The child was then rushed to ThedaCare Medical Center in Shawano where he was pronounced dead. The Shawano County Sheriff's Department is reportedly investigating the incident. Beyond that, police have not yet released any other details into the death.

In the Facebook post, Retzlaff then gave a plug for her business. "We do have some availability: please stop in the office or call or book online."

The plug was what sparked a wave of criticism in the comments section. Many people accused Retzlaff of using the death of a child to promote her business. "You're seriously promoting your campground on a post about a little boy that died tragically?" one user reportedly wrote under the post, adding, "That is absolutely disgusting. You should be ashamed of yourself." 

"Not only is your comment insensitive, it's blasphemous in the name of God...not to mention you are clearly worried about your business over the feelings of a grieving family," another user added. 

"Omg, those parents and others will not agree with that second line," commenter Connie Magee wrote. "Cripes sake, they just lost their baby and you are spewing that he is in a better place? Good grief lady!!! No filter what so ever!!! Who's spewing hate?"

According to the publication, when shown the backlash, Retzlaff didn't acknowledge the problematic nature of her post. "Honestly, I don't know what's on social media right now," Retzlaff said. "I haven't had time to read it, so I really can't respond to the comments."

"From the hurtful hateful comments that continue to come my way after everything I post," Retzlaff said. "I could post that it's blue skies and sunshine today and the haters would jump on my page and hate me and say hurtful things."

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