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Rat Served in Atlanta Asian Restaurant Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

The message included below claims that a popular restaurant in Atlanta has been shut down by health authorities.

Supposedly, shipments of rats, mice, kittens and puppies were discovered in the restaurant’s kitchen ready to be served as Asian dishes to the establishment’s high profile guests.

The message includes photographs featuring trays of rodents supposedly ready for use in the eatery’s kitchen.
 However, it is not difficult to identify the message as a hoax:

  • Some time spent in Google Image Search quickly reveals that the very same images were originally shown on Dumerils.com, a (now defunct) website that supplied food for pet snakes.
  • There was no mention of the restaurant closure in the mainstream media. If an eatery frequented by celebrities such as Whitney Houston was really serving rat meat to its patrons, it would almost certainly be a top story in newspaper and TV news, not only in Atlanta but also around the world.
  • Like similar hoaxes, the message is quite vague when it comes to details. The restaurant or its owners are not named, the actual date of the supposed closure is not stated and no collaborating reference material is supplied.

In fact, this hoax is just another manifestation of a long-standing urban legend that unfairly maligns Asian restaurants.

Here in Australia, vague stories about cats or rats being used as a secret substitute for chicken at Chinese eateries have circulated for many years.

There is the yarn about the town where a lot of pet cats have gone missing until the mystery is solved when sanitation workers find cat skeletons in the local Chinese restaurant garbage bins. Another tells of the suspicious Asian restaurant patron who takes a sample of his “chicken” to be analysed only to discover that he or she has been eating cat or rat or another animal that Westerners would not normally consider eating.

These stories are almost always passed around orally and are never substantiated.

Example

Subject: FW: [Psp] POPULAR RESTAURANT SHUT DOWN ! ! ! ! !

This is for you chinese food eaters
THIS IS NOT CHICKEN.. LOOK HARDER…

A popular Asian/Chinese restaurant bistro here in Atlanta was closed down this morning after authorities received a tip that the owner was accepting shipments of rats and mice from a vendor to prepare in his dishes. The owner and his wife were arrested early this morning and charges are not known at this time. After a full search of the kitchen, authorities found, packaged rats, mice, kittens, puppies and a large frozen hawk.

The restaurant is a popular gathering spot for local celebrities such as Whitney Houston andhusband Bobby Brown, Jermaine Dupree, Janet Jackson, Usher, Monica, Puffy, TI, Ludacris, Lil Jon, Toni Braxton, TLC and others. The restaurant has locations off Peachtree Road and Alpharetta near North Pointe Mall.

Rat Package - 1

Rat Package - 2

Rat Package - 3

Rat Package - 4



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer