By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
Want more top stories? Sign up here for daily or weekly newsletters with our top news.
News reports throughout the nation and Canada — and as far away as Great Britain, United Arab Emirates and the Philippines — carried Sunday's Peninsula Daily News account of Gordy's phones bombarded with misdirected audience votes for contestants of the popular Fox TV show Wednesday evening.
The PDN story was shared with the media after The Associated Press picked it up.
“It's not been brought to my attention that they have addressed the problem and it's been fixed and that it won't happen again,” Sexton told the Peninsula Daily News on Monday.
After the story appeared, Sexton was called by print and broadcast reporters far and near for his take on the incident.
“We are receiving exposure, if you will,” he said.
Sexton's family has lived in the community for 50 years, but now he's even more well known.
“When I walk into Safeway, I have notoriety,” he said.
Sexton told the PDN that for about two hours Wednesday, a portion of the 71 million votes that were cast for the 13 contestants on “American Idol” were mistakenly routed to the 1123 E. First St. restaurant.
Fans of the show who thought they were voting via 855-443-6411 were instead getting misrouted to the restaurant's 360-457-5056 number, the same number Gordy's has had for 50 years.
Most callers appeared to be from out of state, with some calls automated and some calls from actual people who called expecting to cast their vote — instead getting a Gordy's employee on the line.
Sexton did not know how many calls his employees received, only that his line was swamped.
“Those votes obviously were not being directed in a proper fashion, and [the contestants'] future is at stake,” Sexton said.
“My heart goes out to the contestants.”
In an email last week to Wave Broadband, Sexton's phone service provider, Sandy Bennett, the voting system's manager, said the solution may involve blocking out-of-state calls to Gordy's during show nights.
She also suggested placing a “trap” on the restaurant's telephone line to detect the number that “American Idol” voters are actually dialing.
A Fox TV spokeswoman did not return repeated calls and emails requesting comments on progress the network is making on fixing the problem and the potential impact on the show.
A dozen episodes of “American Idol” remain in the season.
Sexton was taking in stride the prospect of another frenzy of wrong numbers to his restaurant if the problem is not fixed.
“If it happens again, we'll just roll with it.
“We're just gonna let this dog lie.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.