Chattanooga-Area Restaurant Targeted Online, Threatened with Arson After False Rumor of ‘Back the Blue’ Rally Donation


An unknown person allegedly threatened to burn down a Chattanooga-area restaurant this past weekend after a news station reported — erroneously — that restaurant owners would donate food to a rally that supported local police.

Online threats forced employees at that restaurant, Shuford’s Smokehouse, to take drastic measures to protect their business, said Madison Davis, whose father, Jeff, owns the restaurant.

“A lady placed an order Tuesday for food for Saturday. She said she was taking it to the [pro-police] Back the Blue Rally in Chattanooga. It was just a business transaction. We did not donate the food. One of the news channels reported on Thursday that we were supplying the food for the rally. So they made it sound like we donated the food, and we did not. Whenever that got reported is when we started getting threats, threatening phone calls, harassment, nasty negative reviews on our Facebook,” Davis told The Tennessee Star Monday.

“We had to take our Facebook [page] down within an hour of the report coming out. We went from a 4.8 to a 4 [rating] in less than an hour because of people blowing it [Facebook] up, calling us nasty things that I really don’t want to repeat. We finally got a threat that someone was going to burn our building down where we smoke all of our meat in. That is when we decided to cancel. We didn’t want to do the transaction anymore.”

Davis would not say which news station reported the false news about their establishment. She said she did not want “to start more trouble.” Davis did say that station employees apologized — but she also said they never provided their viewers with a rebuttal or any other statement correcting the record.

Davis said restaurant staff notified police.

“We did reach out to the person who started the slandering, the videos and the posts. He said that he would take down the post and videos if we made a public statement that it was not donated. Per our attorney’s advice, we did that. Instead of following through with his word, he did not take down the slandering stuff,” Davis said.

“Instead he twisted our words and made it worse than what it is. Now we aren’t saying anything at all. We are just letting our attorneys handle it.”

The Star found only one person on Facebook, in a public post, calling Shuford’s racist.

“They are mocking the movement and awarding brutality of black people by police by feeding them today and having a Blue Lives Matter rally,” the Chattanooga resident said last Thursday.

Davis said her family has owned the restaurant since 1987.

“It’s hurtful. We’re not racists. It’s not a reflection of us at all. It hurts that someone can start that kind of slander and get away with it. It’s also kind of shocking that that’s the day and age that we live in. That that rumor can even be started. We’re trying to get through the Fourth of July and combat slander,” Davis said.

“We’re just trying to make it. And then there’s all the COVID stuff going on. We’re just trying to keep our head above water at this point, not business-wise. We are just trying to get through it all.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]




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11 Thoughts to “Chattanooga-Area Restaurant Targeted Online, Threatened with Arson After False Rumor of ‘Back the Blue’ Rally Donation”

  1. Chattanooga PD said they could not trace the Posters on Facebook who made numerous threats. Why?

  2. Deplorable Bay Stater

    Even if the “rumor” was actually true, and they were donating food to the Blue Lives Matter rally, so what? Do they not have the right to support a cause they believe in, just like all the people who support other causes like Black Lives Matter? I guess not…apparently only those who agree with the leftist/Marxist agenda have any rights, and the rest of us are supposed to just bit our tongues.

    While I can sympathize with the predicament the restaurant owners find themselves in, cancelling the transaction was absolutely the wrong thing to do. Trying to appease these jerks is just like every other attempt at appeasement in recorded history: it just doesn’t work! And the sooner we all internalize this, and stop appeasing bullies, the sooner things will start getting better. A swift punch in the nose (or a kick to the groin, depending on your size) is a much better way to deal with a bully. In this case, I hope the response is a slander or defamation lawsuit costing someone — maybe including the news station — a lot of money.

  3. Angie Williams

    I have known Jeff and his family for many, many years. He would never do anything to harm anybody. Shame on the TV station and the FB slanderer. the person who threaten to “burn down the building should be dealt with legally with inciting a terrorist threat!!!

  4. Ron W

    A “threat of arson” is a criminal threat. The FBI SHOULD be all over this to arrest and prosecute whoever committed this criminal act.

    1. Donna Stepp

      Absolutely! Our tax dollars are no longer used to protect the citizenry only a “chosen” few. Our entire system needs to b examined. Racism is racism, black, brown, yellow, red or white! Crime is crime…colorless!

  5. Karen

    I certainly hope the restaurant owners have screen-shots of the posts and recordings of the threats and sue the person(s) who participated in the terroristic threats.

  6. Kevin

    Now, as in the 60’s, leftist elements are attempting to use intimidation to take further control of our society and change our culture. If you give them an inch, they take a mile!

    When will our leaders focus all investigative assets on following the money, behind these thugs? And then, roll them up, and use the seized assets to fund upgrades our education system, like school choice!

    1. Debra Hopkins

      What a great idea. But the intimidation (or payoff, whichever it is) reaches the highest level, and it is as if they are scared to react. This makes me so sad for this business. I hope they follow through and file a civil lawsuit against this television station.

  7. Which “news channel” caused this? They need to be dealt with directly – and I mean, directly. If they are like every other cowering corporation, it shouldn’t take more than four nasty calls for them to do a mea culpa.

    Then, we start calling advertisers,, just like the other side does.

  8. Russ Crouch

    AGAIN the tolerant liberals show their true colors. They are about CONTROL, AND THE LOSS OF FREEDOM. Freedom is fine as long as it is the PC way. I have asked this before, where is the person or persons that determine what is correct and what is not. Who decides what you should do, say and think? I never get an answer. but have asked many times.

  9. rick

    Its past time to push back and remove this scum !!