By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun
1:04 PM EST, January 15, 2014
Video of a disagreement between the owner of a shopping mall party space and a Brooklyn Park woman -- who claims that her daughter's sixth birthday was ruined when the young guests were booted out without receiving pizza, cupcakes and goody bags -- has gone viral.
Mother Jaime Norfolk is suing store owner Nsenga Rivens in Anne Arundel County District Court. But Rivens claims that she is the victim. The owner of the party space, Shugaland, said that she asked the group to leave her business Sunday after they were rude and profane to her.
Rivens says she has agreed to relocate her business from Marley Station Mall after mall officials were bombarded by calls from Norfolk supporters.
Rivens contends that she is being cyberbullied by Norfolk's supporters. One video posted Monday vows to "destroy your business and your credit as well as your reputation." (It was posted under the name of the international hacker group Anonymous, but the affiliation could not be verified.)
The primary Youtube video of the women arguing at the birthday party had been viewed more than 63,000 times by Wednesday morning.
In the video, Norfolk protests that she spent $460 on the birthday party for her daughter and five friends, but the manicures, makeup application sessions and fashion show that the girls received was "chaotic" and poorly planned.
"$460 is a lot of money to have all this drama," says Norfolk.
"No it isn't," replies Rivens. "And you made your own drama."
"Can we just finish the party?" asks another woman. A little girl can be heard throughout the video pleading, "Mommy, mommy."
When a mall security officer and Anne Arundel County Police officer arrive at Shugaland, Norfolk tells them her story.
"So far we've gotten nails, makeup and fashion show, and she's telling me I can take my pizza and leave," she said.
"I didn't make my lipgloss. I didn't get my pizza, my cupcakes, my goody bags," Norfolk tells Rivens.
Rivens asks the party to leave and says that she will bring the items outside.
Mall officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A statement on the mall's Facebook page said, "We are disappointed and disturbed about... the experience one of our shoppers had at Shugaland" and that management was "currently reviewing the situation."
Mindy Lopez, a friend of Norfolk's who shot the video, said that the staff of Shugaland did not help set up the party and it was "terribly disorganized."
She said that the party was to celebrate Norfollk's daughter, Shayla, who is known as "Peanut," who survived a terrible car accident last summer that left her in intensive care for days.
Lopez said that Rivens had forgotten that the party had been scheduled and had a "bad attitude."
"All we wanted her to do was admit it and apologize," she said.
Norfolk told The Sun that she had paid for, and expected, an "over-the-top party for little girls," with makeovers, a fashion show and karaoke. She had even paid for an additional craft -- a lipgloss making project.
But she says nothing had been set up for the party when they arrived. The promised decorations were not hung and the runway was not set up for the fashion show. Only two employees were available to do the girls' hair and makeup, not the four that she had been promised.
"Half the girls didn't even get the full makeup," she said. "It was nothing like it was supposed to be."
Then, she said, about an hour and a half into the party, Rivens abruptly told the little girls who were changing out of their dress-up outfits that they had to leave and the party was over.
"I just wanted her to apologize and admit that she had overbooked," she said. "They never got their cupcakes, they never got their goody bags, they didn't get to make their lipgloss."
Norfolk claims that no one in her party was profane to Rivens.But Rivens said that she was prepared for the little girl's party. She said that a new employee of hers had mistakenly told Norfolk that the party had been scheduled for another week, but then corrected herself.
Rivens said that Norfolk's group was angry that she was focused on a baby shower running concurrently at Shugaland. And she alleges that she ordered Norfolk's group to leave only after someone referred to her by a profanity.
Rivens that she is frightened by a YouTube video that claims to have been created by an affiliate of Anonymous.
In the video, a figure wearing the group's signature Guy Fawkes mask says, "Your whole database belongs to us. We can and will destroy your business and your credit as well as your reputation. We will destroy your other businesses as well."
The video includes personal photos of Rivens.
Rivens said that she had received scores of phone calls since the weekend, including several obscene ones.
"There's something really twisted about this," Rivens said.
Norfolk said she filed the suit to recoup the cost of the party and the pizza that she bought the girls afterward at Chuck E. Cheese. She said she does not want to see Rivens harassed and has not participated in any threatening posts on social media. She said she found the "Anonymous"-branded video "kind of creepy."
She said that 15 different businesses have come forward after seeing the video and offered to pay for a new party for her daughter, but that she has decided to hold a second small party at a church hall because she does not want "handouts."
A trial is scheduled for March 13, according to the Maryland Judiciary Case Search.
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