New York Pizzeria Denies Service to Veteran John Welch, His Service Dog-Fiction!  

Summary of eRumor:

A servicemember named John Welch was denied service at Villagio’s Pizzeria in Massapequa Park, New York, because he was accompanied by his service dog, Onyx. 

The Truth:

False claims that servicemember John Welch on his service dog, Onyx, were died service at Villagio’s Pizzeria in Massapequa, New York, are based on a misidentified photo from the set of a television show.

The rumor started with a post that appeared on a private Facebook account operated by a man named Paul Musso on April 18. The post, which shows a man identified as John Welch wearing what appears to be wearing a Military Honor Guard uniform with the caption:

This is my friend John Welch He was denied service at Villagio’s Pizzeria, 3 Park Lane in Massapequa Park because he attempted to enter with his service dog “Onyx”. Please take action, boycott, call,share and spread this, something. John has truly sacrificed and deserves better!!!

The post was quickly shared thousands of times, and people commenting on the post said they were “saddened and furious” by the pizzeria’s alleged treatment of John Welch and his dog, Onyx. Some even offered to treat Welch and Musso to pizza on their own dime.

However, the man in the photo is not an enlisted service member named John Welch. Through a reverse Google image search, we found that the photo actually shows an actor on the set of the popular TV show “Madam Secretary” in early April 2017.

The image originally appeared at Newsday’s website with the caption, “A crew member walks background talent into Newsday’s headquarters in Melville in preparation for a taping of the CBS drama, “Madam Secretary,” Tuesday, April 11, 2017.” Conveniently, a production assistant that can be seen next to the actor was cropped out of the image that appeared on Musso’s Facebook account, likely to make the image appear more realistic. 

So, the photo used for this Facebook post does not show a servicemember named John Welch and his dog, Onyx. It shows an extra for “Madam Secretary” walking the set between takes.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 04/21/2017
john welch pizzeria
This Facebook post misidentifies a photo of an actor on the set of “Madam Secretary” as a servicemember named John Welch who was denied service at a pizzeria in New York.