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Group Dedicated To Honoring Robin Hood Attracts New Followers After GameStop Incident

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Many of you have heard of the ups and downs of Robinhood this past week.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ROBIN HOOD")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) This is the story of a thief. He stole from the rich and gave to the poor. I call him Robin Hood. It's got a nice ring to it, don't you think?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: A nice ring, but we aren't talking about that Robin Hood. We mean the Robinhood trading app where thousands of people were buying and selling GameStop stock, sending the price soaring and then crashing. At one point during the frenzy, the app blocked people from selling the stock. Traders were fuming, so they released their fury on Twitter. But some got confused.

LISA DOUGLAS: We're the World Wide Robin Hood society, and we are based here in Sherwood in Nottingham. And it was basically put together by a group of enthusiasts who wanted to spread the word about Robin Hood worldwide.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Lisa Douglas, who helps with the group's social media, which, honestly, didn't have a big online presence until last week.

DOUGLAS: Thursday lunchtime, we had 350 followers. Now we've got over 60,000.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But in the beginning, they weren't all fans - far from it.

DOUGLAS: They thought we were Robinhood app. And they were contacting us to shout at us and complain that they couldn't do their dealings or whatever they were doing. And so we would just put a tweet out to explain who we are and that we're over here in England minding our own business, really.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, that tweet quickly tamed the Twitter-sphere. And there was a sudden outpouring from new fans.

DOUGLAS: We have had so many people coming back and saying, well, I've never heard of you before, but I love Robin Hood. And now I'm going to follow you. And, you know, you're the good guy. You know, we hope you're okay after being dragged into all of this.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Lisa Douglas has been delighted by the response, calling it, quote, "heartwarming" and very much in the spirit of the society's namesake.

DOUGLAS: Robin Hood has always been - throughout history, he's always fought for the underdog. So, you know, we think that perhaps the name - the Robinhood app isn't fighting on the right side of the Robin Hood legend at the moment. But we certainly are. We fight for the little guy. We're a happy band. We're a merry, merry band.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When the pandemic is actually over, the merry band from the World Wide Robin Hood Society of Nottingham hopes all you new followers will come for a real visit.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.