A case of mistaken identity has Sudbury's Jenna Ryan trying to save her reputation

After the siege on the US Capitol, a Sudbury realtor has found her "twin" of sorts — and it's not the kind of story Jenna Ryan ever thought she'd be a part of.

Comments revolve around being a traitor, enjoying prison, and 'lots of derogatory things on top of that'

Sudbury's Jenna Ryan happens to share the same name as a woman who was involved in the siege on the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6. What she wishes they didn't share is the online harassment and abuse from thousands of people, angry about the attack. (Jenna Ryan/Facebook)

A Sudbury realtor says she's been mistaken for a Texan woman involved in the siege on the U.S. capitol.

Sudbury's Jenna Ryan shares the same name, hair colour and profession as the other woman — but it is a case of mistaken identity.

She says she's the target of online harassment and abuse from thousands of people, angry about the attack. Sudbury's Jenna Ryan says she's not concerned about her safety, but is worried about the flood of negative Google reviews of her business.

"Those reviews, although they sound minor, are actually pretty detrimental to your business if you were to get a lot of negative reviews, so that was our bigger focus to clean those up ASAP by reaching out," she said.

Ryan says she's tried to contact each person online to let them know about the case of mistaken identity.

"Every single person that sent us a message, we did message back, many of which we did get apologies. And some of them would remove the negative review, which was great. I looked at my most recent page feed and it appears we had about 2,200 comments since that time. And that's just on Facebook alone," Ryan said.

She says the comments revolved around being a traitor, enjoying prison, and "lots of derogatory things on top of that."

Ryan says their anger was palpable.

"[People are] feeling like they have lost control of, I guess, that part of their country. They just feel like they lost a patriot that way. I do know that it's not meant for me and that part makes it a little bit easier to bear."

Sudbury realtor Jenna Ryan and her team have been responding to thousands of hateful messages from people — by phone, email and social media — to clear up a case of mistaken identity. (JennaRyanTeam/Facebook)

But in the last two weeks since the siege took place, she says the messages and phone calls have continued to roll in.

"And you listen to them and you're replying to all the negativity ... it's actually exhausting. I'm not a person that I would let it get to me. But that amount of negativity, although it's directed to the wrong person, still affects you."

There have been suggestions she change her business profile name or remove it entirely for the time being, although she has shied away from the idea.

"I can't even imagine what the detriment is to disappear from the market, disappear from the internet, for that time," Ryan said.

"So we thought that the better solution was definitely just to respond to everyone and stay present versus disappear."

The Jenna Ryan from Texas has since removed her Facebook account.

With files from Jessica Pope and Kate Rutherford


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.