Someone threatened to burn down a restaurant in Tennessee after rumors started circulating that the owner donated food to a pro-police rally.
Shuford's Smokehouse in Chattanooga said a woman placed an order for food to be delivered to a Back the Blue event on June 28.
The rally was organized to show support for police officers, who have faced fierce criticism since the death of George Floyd on May 25.
Co-owner Madison Davis told The Tennessee Star that this was a routine food order and nothing was donated to the event.
"A lady placed an order Tuesday for food for Saturday. She said she was taking it to the Back the Blue Rally in Chattanooga. It was just a business transaction," Davis said. "We did not donate the food."
But a local news reporter had claimed the restaurant was "supplying the food," and that's when the threats started to mount.
"One of the news channels reported that we were supplying the food for the rally. So they made it sound like we donated the food, and we did not. Whenever that got reported is when we started getting threats, threatening phone calls, harassment, nasty negative reviews on our Facebook," Davis added.
The small family-run business had no other choice but to cancel the nearly $1,000 order out of fear that they'd lose their restaurant to criminal activists.
"We had to take our Facebook page down within an hour of the report coming out," Davis explained. "We finally got a threat that someone was going to burn our building down where we smoke all of our meat in. That is when we decided to cancel. We didn't want to do the transaction anymore."
The owner says Shuford's, which has been serving traditional southern barbecue for 33 years, is committed to serving good food to their customers.
"It's hurtful. We're not racists. It's not a reflection of us at all. It hurts that someone can start that kind of slander and get away with it. It's also kind of shocking that that's the day and age that we live in. We're trying to get through the Fourth of July and combat slander," Davis said.
"We're just trying to make it. And then there's all the COVID stuff going on. We're trying to keep our head above water at this point. We are just trying to get through it all," she concluded.
Davis said the news station that spread the false information apologized but never told their viewers the truth.
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