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    Business owners, former employee feud over online reviews

    January 5, 2021 GMT

    IPSWICH, Mass. (AP) — The owners of a boat repair business are facing charges after a confrontation about negative online reviews they say were left by a former employee.

    William Ripley, 59, and his son Neil Ripley, 25, of Stratham, New Hampshire, appeared in court on Monday in Ipswich to hear assault and trespassing charges, the Salem News reported.

    They told police on Dec. 26 that they went to the home of former employee David Fowler because he posted negative reviews of their business. A fight started, though Fowler and the Ripleys disagree about who instigated it.

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    The Ripleys told police that Fowler’s father, Russell Fowler, 62, wielded a pitchfork and used it to cause damage to the Ripleys’ car, the newspaper reported.

    Russell Fowler told police that the Ripleys had arrived “irate,” and then punched and kicked him and almost ran him over with their vehicle.

    Police found Russell Fowler with a bleeding lip. He was also treated for a punctured lung, the newspaper reported.

    “There are two sides to every story,” an attorney for the Ripleys, Paul Anthony, told the newspaper.

    A judge at the Ipswich District Court set bail for each William and Neil Ripley at $1,000, which they paid, the newspaper reported. Their next court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 25.