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Fact Check: Story about Budweiser, Pepsi and the Arab store owners? Not true

Posted: August 1, 2014 - 4:43pm

Times-Union readers want to know:

Is the story true about a Budweiser employee who, on Sept. 11, 2001, was delivering to a store in McFarland, Calif., owned by two Arabs who he heard laughing and cheering, so he called his boss who told him to take every Bud product off the shelves?

A longer version of the Budweiser story adds a kicker:

“It seems that the Bud driver and the Pepsi man are neighbors. The Bud man called the Pepsi man and told him. Pepsi man called his boss who told him to pull all Pepsi products as well!!! That would include Frito Lay, etc.

“Furthermore, word spread and all vendors followed suit! At last report, on June 26, 2009, Fareed Katib closed the store and filed bankruptcy!”

Maybe the story is hitting inboxes again because the Sept. 11 anniversary is five weeks away. Or maybe it was one of the patriotic stories that lingered from the July 4 holiday.

Whatever the reason, it is still pure fiction.

The story first appeared on Sept. 20, 2001, according to Snopes.com. It is one of many tales that describe Arab employees at various businesses supposedly celebrating on the 11th as they watched the attacks unfold on television.

In other parts of the world, there were documented reports of Muslims rejoicing or dancing in the streets after the attacks, but not here.

Dennis Muleady, marketing director of the Budweiser distributor for the McFarland area, told Snopes.com that the events of the Budweiser story never happened. Snopes.com also contacted parent company Anheuser-Busch, which gave this response:

“Please know that we have investigated the matter and have found there is no truth to this story. We’ve checked extensively on this story in a number of different locations, with wholesalers and retail accounts and there is no report of a customer reacting in such a manner. Therefore, no product has been pulled from any retail account.

“Like all Americans, we at Anheuser-Busch along with our wholesalers were shocked and saddened by the tragic and violent terrorist attack on our country. We keep the victims and survivors in our thoughts.”

Many of the so-called U.S. incidents — similar reports targeted Dunkin’ Donuts and Lumber Liquidators — were investigated and found to be not true, Snopes.com and TruthOrFiction.com reported.

Individuals who commented on the stories also pooh-poohed them. “Elaine,” one of the respondents on the Budweiser story on Topix.com, said that she is from McFarland and all the stores there still sell Budweiser and Pepsi products.

Carole Fader: (904) 359-4635

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