Anchorage restaurant's coronavirus conspiracy Facebook post spurs social media backlash


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - An Anchorage restaurant owner is under fire for posting to the business’s official Facebook page promoting a coronavirus conspiracy theory.

The post by Wings ‘n Things, from 8:16 p.m. on Wednesday, generated nearly 2,000 comments. Most of them were from people who were angry about the post.

Wings 'n Things Facebook Post

One of the restaurant’s owners, Daryl Hunter, also argued in support of the original post in the comments, and said that he agreed with a Facebook user who asserted that coronavirus is fake.

Other Facebook users were alarmed by posts, including one that suggested Hunter's daughter returned to Anchorage after traveling out of state on Sunday before then visiting the restaurant on Monday, not observing the 14-day quarantine after arriving in state as described in State of Alaska Health Mandate 10.1.

The Municipality of Anchorage said Thursday it had received 11 complaints about the restaurant as of 5 p.m. that evening. The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said people can report non-compliance of mandates by emailing KTUU also asked DHSS if there has been any investigation triggered by concerns expressed in the Facebook posts. A spokesperson for the department said he is looking into it, but has not confirmed or denied any action taken.

KTUU also reached out to Hunter to discuss the Facebook post, but he has not returned the request.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, another part-owner at Wings ‘n Things was stuck dealing with the mess. Dawn Jewell said she did not know about the social media post until Thursday morning, and had not yet had a chance to read it in full.

“I got some negative responses right away this morning on my personal cell phone," Jewell said, "and that was when I was alerted to the fact that somebody had put something on our business web page, and I wish it would have been done personally. We obviously all have opinions over this virus. This opinion that was posted is not my opinion or my employees', that are still lucky enough to be working."

Jewell had a cook come out of the kitchen to demonstrate that he was working while wearing a face mask and gloves.

“This isn’t to be taken lightly, obviously, " Jewell said, adding that multiple owners, employees and marketing representatives had access to the restaurant’s Facebook page, "and we are doing everything we can to keep in line with all the health regulations. We are trying to stay afloat during all of this."

On Thursday afternoon, the restaurant posted that it had fired a marketing representative, but that post was then also deleted.

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