Fact Check: False Claim That A Church In New York Received A Liquor License – USA TODAY

The claim: A church in New York State received a liquor licenseSocial media users are falsely claiming that The Buffalo News published a story that a church in New York State received a liquor license.

A Facebook user shared an image on Oct. 26 of what appears to be a story on the front page of The Buffalo News. 

“True Bethel Baptist Church becomes the first Church in NYS to receive a Liquor License: Rev. Darius Pridgen thanks Mayor Brown,” reads the headline of the supposed article.

The post generated close to 400 shares in less than a week. Several social media users shared this image.

But the claim is false.

True Bethel Baptist Church, which holds services in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, has not received a liquor license, according to a spokesperson for the church.

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USA TODAY reached out to social media users who shared the post for comment.

No evidence the story is realThe story is false, according to Danetta McKinnon, pastor of administration at True Bethel Baptist Church.

“There is absolutely no truth to the article of True Bethel Baptist Church and Pastor Darius Pridgen obtaining a liquor license,” McKinnon told USA TODAY via email . 

Pridgen, senior pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church, also confirmed that the church had not received a liquor license in an episode of his radio show, “Power to the People,” on Oct. 15 that was live streamed on YouTube. 

“Just look it up … when people apply for liquor licenses, it’s public information,” Pridgen said in the episode. 

A search on the New York State Liquor Authority website does not have any records of True Bethel Baptist Church applying for or obtaining a liquor license.

“This is in fact a fake story,” Amy Yakawiak, information specialist at The Buffalo News, told the Associated Press.

She added that she “wasn’t clear where the false image originated,” according to AP. 

The claim has been circulating since early September, according to McKinnon.

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USA TODAY reached out to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown for comment.

Our rating: FalseBased on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a church in New York State received a liquor license. A spokesperson from True Bethel Baptist Church confirmed the church has not received a liquor license, nor has The Buffalo News published a story saying the church received a liquor license.

Our fact-check sources: Associated Press, Oct. 29, Western New York church did not get a liquor licenseNew York State Liquor Authority, accessed Nov. 2, Public query searchDanetta McKinnon, Nov. 2, Email exchange with USA TODAYPower to the People Show with Darius Pridgen via YouTube, Oct. 15, Power to the People Show w/Darius PridgenPolitiFact, Oct. 28, No, a church in upstate New York didn’t get a liquor license. The report is fake.The Buffalo News, accessed Nov. 2, Latest headlinesTrue Bethel Baptist Church, accessed Nov. 2, About Darius PridgenCity of Buffalo, accessed Nov. 2, About Mayor Byron BrownThank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.