You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

East Side Pies responds to ‘Pizzagate’ with anti-bullying fundraiser


Highlights

Austin police said they are questioning a “person of interest” in their ‘Pizzagate’ investigation.

The restaurant owners say they felt it was important to support anti-bullying groups working with children.

East Side Pies pizzeria owners Noah Polk and Michael Freid, who have been the target of harassment sparked by the fake online news story known as “Pizzagate,” appeared at their Airport Boulevard location Thursday to announce an anti-bullying partnership with East Austin nonprofit Creative Action.

With every purchase from East Side Pies, customers can donate $1 to Creative Action, which “supports the academic, social and emotional development of young people.”

The restaurant owners say they will confront bullying head on, but Polk felt it was important to support groups working with children.

Creative Action teaches anti-bullying and leadership skills to children in five Central Texas school districts, using interactive performances and role-playing that offer students solutions in the face of bullying.

“What Creative Action does is unique in that we are using the creative arts. So it is a super-engaging program, so students are really learning without feeling like they are learning,” said Shobie Partos, director of school and community partnerships for Creative Action.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s office reached out to East Side Pies on Wednesday and connected the owners with the anti-bullying group.

“Who knew the mayor’s office was so cool?” Polk said.

“It’s important to me that we have each other’s back in Austin, and I’m heartened to see the community rally to support the folks at East Side Pies when they were under attack,” Adler told the American-Statesman.

The East Side Pies owners and Partos announced their joint effort hours after the second occurrence of vandalism in two days at the Airport Boulevard location.

Austin police said Wednesday they are questioning a “person of interest” in their investigation of the online harassment of East Side Pies that began last week. The man was arrested on an unrelated charge by Pflugerville police but is not facing any charges by the Austin Police Department.

Pflugerville Assistant Police Chief Jim McLean confirmed “an active investigation” was underway by Austin police of James Christian Lowery of Pflugerville. The Statesman obtained the arrest warrant affidavit for Lowery, who was arrested Tuesday on a charge of deadly conduct after firing a weapon in the air at his home on Dec. 2.

“Pizzagate,” a debunked conspiracy that attempted to tie associates of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to an underage sex-trafficking ring run out of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., may sound ridiculous to some, but East Side Pies’ owners have seen the disturbing effects of fake news.

“The story is fake; the threat is real,” Polk said.

Polk said many customers have expressed sympathy and dismay about the events.

“Our customers have truly rallied around us,” Polk said. “We’re going to continue to do what we do every day, which is serving great pizzas to Austin. None of this is going to stop us from doing what we do.”

Polk said Austin police responded quickly and seriously to their initial complaints this week and urge anyone enduring similar harassment to follow suit.

“Stand up and don’t be bullied,” Polk said. “If you feel threatened, reach out to the local authorities.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Some minority groups threaten to oppose Austin district bond package
Some minority groups threaten to oppose Austin district bond package

The Austin school board tonight is slated to call for a November bond election, putting before voters more than $990 million worth of bond projects packaged into one proposition. As it was last week, this meeting could become heated as some community members plan to rally against the package in its current form. Latino and black community leaders have...
AUSTIN PROTESTS: A guide to marches demonstrations and rallies coming up this summer
AUSTIN PROTESTS: A guide to marches demonstrations and rallies coming up this summer

Ready to throw yourself behind a cause this summer? Here are some Austin protests, marches and rallies scheduled in the coming weeks that you can join:   The Austin Gay & Lesbian Pride Foundation (AGLPF) in conjunction with Transgender Education Network of Texas, Equality Texas, and Austin's fabulous Drag Community Wednesday, June 28 7 p.m. Texas...
Supreme Court to hear arguments over Trump travel ban
Supreme Court to hear arguments over Trump travel ban

The Supreme Court on Monday announced that it would listen to arguments surrounding President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban during its October sitting.
AFFIDAVIT: Man posed as his brother to elude additional charges, authorities say
AFFIDAVIT: Man posed as his brother to elude additional charges, authorities say

Authorities are on the lookout for a man with 27 previous license suspensions who they say used his brother’s name to elude being jailed because his outstanding warrants, according to an arrest affidavit. A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper pulled over 41-year-old Michael Russell on Wednesday on suspicion that he was driving an...
JUST IN: Austin kidnapping suspect caught at Iron Maiden concert after Facebook post
JUST IN: Austin kidnapping suspect caught at Iron Maiden concert after Facebook post

Bexar County sheriff’s office deputies caught an Austin kidnapping suspect at an Iron Maiden concert in San Antonio after a friend of his posted images of their tickets on social media, leading officers right to their seats. Authorities in San Antonio arrested Derrick Roseland, who was wanted in Austin on an aggravated kidnapping charge...
More Stories