Fact check: False claim about murderous Chicago restaurant owner began as promotion for fictional project

The claim: A Chicago soul food restaurant owner was arrested after killing and cooking her boyfriend

A jarring headline about the supposed misdeeds of a Chicago restaurateur has captivated the attention of some on Facebook.

“Chicago soul food restaurant owner arrested after killing boyfriend and serving his intestines to customers,” reads a headline in an April 10 Facebook post.

The post includes an image of a purported broadcast from an ABC affiliate TV station in Chicago featuring a “business closed” sign attached to a restaurant door.

“And this my friends is why I eat in!” The post’s caption says.

In three days, the post attracted close to 6,000 shares. But the post doesn’t show an actual event.

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The image in the post is altered. It was originally posted on Instagram to promote a writer’s fiction project, and the headline is based on that writer’s story.

USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user who posted the claim for comment.

Post originated as promotion for fiction project

The image in the Facebook post first appeared in writer Quan Millz’s April 10 Instagram post promoting the adaptation of his 2018 “urban horror” story. Millz describes himself on his Instagram page as providing “the finest in urban fiction!”.

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An account for a radio show called Onsite! Uploaded a similar Instagram post shortly after. That post says the story involves a woman who murders her boyfriend and sells his remains as food at her restaurant.

“This story, of course, is fiction and is being turned into a movie by international bestselling author QUAN MILLZ,” the post’s caption reads.

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Though this image may appear to show a legitimate news segment, it is altered and shown out of context.

The photo stems from a June 2020 news segment from ABC7 Chicago, which covered the city’s closure of a Mexican restaurant. That restaurant’s name and logo can be seen behind the sign in the image.

Other aspects of the broadcast have been altered. The address of the restaurant featured in the news segment is edited out of the news ticker and replaced with a nonexistent one: “1185 W 200 ST, Chicago.”.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a Chicago soul food restaurant owner was arrested after killing and cooking her boyfriend. The claim stems from an image used as a promotion on Instagram for a fictional project. The image used in the post is also altered and taken from a news story unrelated to the claim.

Our fact-check sources:

  • ABC 7 Chicago, June 13, 2020, City shuts down Portage Park restaurant ‘El Viejón’.
  • Amazon, accessed April 12, This Hoe Eats Chitlins: A Hood Horror Story.
  • Bing, accessed April 11.
  • Instagram, April 10, Post..
  • Instagram, April 10, Post..
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    Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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