Fake news has come home to roost in Austin.
Earlier this week, Eastside Pies was targeted by Austinites who seemingly believe the same falsehood – that pizzerias across the country are facilitating a child sex ring through esoteric clues on menus – that compelled a North Carolina man to discharge a firearm in a Washington, D.C. pizzeria on Monday.
And, it seems, InfoWars is to blame for the Eastside Pies attacks as well, after one of Jones' followers ranted against the restaurant in a rambling video (which has apparently been taken down) that cites the company's tongue-in-cheek Illuminati-inspired logo as evidence of #pizzagate involvement. He also noted a cashier's gauge earrings, a flyer for the Air Sex National Championships and two children playing dominoes as irrefutable proof that the pizzeria is an integral cog in the criminal cabal outlined in the #pizzagate conspiracy.
It is not.
As a result, one of Eastside Pies' delivery vehicles was vandalized with the word "pedo" keyed into a door and a facade of the chain's Airport Boulevard location was tagged with graffiti, though, it's unclear whether that graffiti is connected with #pizzagate. As one listener pointed out, the same tag is located on a building at 12th and San Bernard streets.
The pizzeria has also received harassing social media mentions and phone calls, according to co-owner Noah Polk, who held a press conference earlier today.
"The good thing is our customers have truly rallied around us," Polk said. "We’re going to continue to do what we do…none of this is going to stop us from doing what we do."
To combat the harassment, Eastside Pies has decided to allow customers to tack on an extra dollar to every order that will go to the nonprofit Creative Action, which offers classes and programs aimed at combating bullying in Austin, Manor, Del Valle, Round Rock and Eanes school districts.
"We’re grown-ups here. We’re going to deal with the harassment and stuff head on," Polk said. "Lots of kids and teenagers with social media bullying aren’t quite as equipped as adults to deal with it."
Polk added that the Austin Police Department is investigating the incidents.
Audrey McGlinchy contributed to this report.