Tennesseans speak out about Pilot agreement on social media

The news of Pilot Flying J agreement has taken over the internet, Twitter, and Facebook. That's where many East Tennesseans expressed their feelings about the situation.

Feelings vary from frustration to shock and even some saying they're happy it's over.

"If you had to make a list of companies you thought that may have people that were doing something wrong, Pilot Flying J wouldn't be on your list," said Mike Cohen, Public Relations expert.

That may have been the case 15 months ago, but after a federal raid on headquarters and months of legal hearings, East Tennesseans said the outcome is not surprising.

RELATED STORY: Feds: Pilot Flying J will not be prosecuted

In a matter of minutes on Monday, Pilot Flying J became a trending hash tag on Twitter.

"News is what it is," Cohen said. "When you have a big leading company and an FBI raid on that company, you prepare mentally for the worst."

The response to the news has a lot of East Tennesseans pointing finger and others sticking up for Pilot and the Haslam family.

"Don't hate on a man who worked so hard to be successful. Everyone makes mistakes," Trey Conway said on the WBIR Facebook page.

Others disagree.

Patricia Martin said, "Employees were following the chain of command and did not profit from it. They should not be held accountable when The Upper management gets to walk away scott free."

Cohen said it's important that East Tennesseans see past the mistakes and focus on everything Pilot is doing for the community.

"They all pour money into the community," he said. "You would be hard pressed to find a good cause in the Knoxville area that has not been a recipient of some of the generosity of the Haslam's and Pilot Flying J."

To break down the story's response in numbers:

WBIR's original tweet about the "understanding" with the federal government received more than 200 re-tweets.

WBIR's Facebook post has more than 50 shares and more than 100 comments.

The story is also getting a lot of national attention from both national news and sports outlets. Jimmy Haslam purchased the Cleveland Browns in 2012 and WBIR was actually trending in Ohio on Monday.


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