Listen up Westport, in the words of Taylor Swift- "You need to calm down".

Have you seen the viral photo that's been circulating on Facebook and Instagram from Bootleg BBQ? For something so innocent, it's been getting both positive and negative feedback from the local community. In case you're still on the fence, I have confirmed with owner Fred Melnyk that the bear in the photo was indeed photoshopped professionally.

Unfortunately, some sour patch kids are upset with Melnyk's post, and to that, I say- get a life.

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Do we not recall how many businesses took advantage of the bears spotted a few months ago across the SouthCoast? The idea is to get people talking about your business, and that's exactly what Melnyk did and succeeded. With almost 200 shares and 45,000 views, I'd say this "fun" photoshopped image got the attention it deserved.

"It worked...we were going to head to Bayside...opened up Facebook while she (significant other) was getting ready and saw the post and said let's go to bootleg." - Bill Shaw commented.

In this crazy world we live in, there is no such thing as bad publicity. If it gets people talking, then you've done your job. However, as much as some people got a kick out of the photo, others were on the fence.

Serena Parente Charlebois wrote- "Ok, so I don’t want to say anything bad about people but are those people crazy?!  Hiding behind a car door is not exactly bear-proof." while Sean Mitchell said, "That's not real unless the guy with a little boy Is a idiot for keeping him out there."

Melnyk's friend who is a professional in graphic design and multimedia pieced together this masterpiece to ensure the fake bear had the perfect shadows and dimensions.

"It took us longer to find a photo of a bear on Google than it did to create the photo altogether," Melnyk explained.

In the end: there's no bear, no one got hurt, it's all for fun and the best comment to sum everything up goes to Tu Pang who said it perfectly.

"If people don't get the point of this picture. Let me explain!!!! This is to get people talking about the bear that was at Bootleg BBQ it's called marketing at its finest. Get with the program people it's 2023," he said.

So before we start bashing businesses that are out there doing whatever they can to muster up customers, perhaps get the full story first. If this was real, the people in the photo wouldn't be as careless to hang out feet away from a black bear.

It's called marketing 101, people, get used to it.

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