Fake News! Doctored article sparks coronavirus panic at Sheepshead Bay eatery

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A screenshot of a fake news article falsely stating a Sheepshead Bay eatery tested positive for coronavirus.
Image courtesy of Metin Turan

A doctored Daily News article falsely claimed that a Sheepshead Bay mainstay has tested positive for coronavirus, setting off a panic on southern Brooklyn social media.

The owners of Anatolian Gyro — on E. 16th Street and Sheepshead Bay Road — addressed the false conspiracy, saying the rumors had no basis in reality. 

“Recently there has been FAKE NEWS being passed around between our fabled neighborhood that puts Anatolian Gyro in a bad light,” Metin Turan wrote in a post on the eatery’s Facebook page. “We have NOT been infected, nor has anyone who tested positive for any sort of virus including the coronavirus visited us.” 

Turan said his daughter first saw the doctored article posted on the photo-sharing app Snapchat — and then became worried as the misinformation began to spread on social media. 

The restaurateur’s fears became a reality the day after the fake article spread, when the Turkish food joint sat unusually quiet — likely out of unwarranted fears of the deadly contagion.  

The Daily News reporter who allegedly wrote the fake article took to social media to clarify that he had no knowledge of the supposed article. 

“This image has been circulating but it seems to be fake,” wrote Wes Parnell. “I did not write this article and it’s not on our website.”

And while there have been over 60 cases of the novel virus reported in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio clarified that the infection cannot be spread through food or drink at a March 12 roundtable —  where he also announced aid to small businesses that could prove they’ve lost 25-percent of business since the outbreak began. 

Turan said he does not have any ideas of the person behind the doctored image but suspects the culprit is a competing business.

“It is either competition or somebody doesn’t like us,” he said.