This video shows a Detroit food vendor spitting on pizza dough in September 2018
Stomach-churning footage of a man spitting on pizza dough has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts in February 2021 alongside claims that the incident took place in London and the man is a Muslim refugee from Algeria. The claims are false: the video in fact shows a food vendor spitting on pizza dough at a food stand in the US city of Detroit in September 2018.
The four-second clip was shared on Facebook here on February 24, 2021.
The post’s Hindi caption translates to English as: “The tradition of spitting is not limited to here only, it happens in places like London as well. This poor man is a peaceful refugee from Algeria. This is a clear cut fact that either you eat food with their spit or reject them at all. The choice is yours.”
The use of "peaceful" in such context is a common way that pro-Hindu right-wing figures satirically address Muslims on social media, as noted in his report by Indian newspaper The Free Press Journal.
However, the claims are false. The video shows a former American food vendor spitting on pizza in the US city of Detroit.
A keyword search on Google found that the incident was reported here by US television WXYZ Detroit on September 23, 2018. The video report is titled “Comerica Park food services employee seen spitting on pizza in police custody”.
The video caption reads: “A video that shows a former Comerica Park food services employee spitting on pizza intended for customers has gone viral. Officials say the employee is in police custody and could face charges. The video was posted to Instagram on Saturday and shows an employee spitting on the pizza, then rubbing the sauce in it.”
Below is a screenshot comparison between the video from the misleading Facebook post (L) and the 2018 video aired on WXYZ Detroit (R):
According to a follow-up report by The Detroit News on November 15, 2018, the man seen in the video is a 21-year-old named Jaylon Kerley. He was fired after the video surfaced and was sentenced to 18 months of probation.
“A Detroit man who was recorded spitting on a pizza while working as a food vendor at Comerica Park was placed on 18 months probation Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court.
Jaylon Kerley, 21, also was ordered by Judge James Chylinski of Wayne County Circuit Court to undergo anger management therapy and not work around food during probation,” says the first two paragraphs of the report.