Fact Check

Did a Florida Chinese Restaurant's Sign Read 'F*** DeSantis'?

In September 2021, social media users enthusiastically shared a picture of a restaurant sign that appeared to offer a 95% discount to vaccinated customers.

Published Sep 3, 2021

A photograph shows a real sign outside a restaurant in Florida that offered vaccinated customers a 95% discount and said, of the Florida governor, "F*** DeSantis."

In September 2021, social media users enthusiastically shared a photograph of what appeared to be a sign outside a Chinese restaurant that offered a 95% discount to customers vaccinated against COVID-19, and attacked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a prominent Republican opponent of vaccine mandates, stating "F*** DeSantis."

Here's how the sign appeared in a popular Reddit post on Sep. 2. The restaurant's name was purportedly "Phoenix Koi" and the sign read:


The picture spread widely on Facebook, too. The screenshot below shows just a selection of posts from September 2021, and demonstrates the popularity of the "Phoenix Koi" sign on that platform:

In reality, the sign was fake. Not only was it the product of digital editing, but it derived from a website set up to allow users to generate an infinite variety of fake Chinese restaurant signs, with a different restaurant name and text each time.

The website — Atom.Smasher.org — has been in existence for at least 15 years, and allows the user to enter a restaurant name and up to four lines of text, from which a fake sign is generated (the following example was not created by Snopes):

Since 2005 at the latest, the same website has also hosted a generator for fake error messages, fake BBQ restaurant signs, and fake law firm signs.


Atom Smasher’s Bar-B-Q Sign Generator. https://atom.smasher.org/bar-b-q/. Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.
Atom Smasher’s Chinese Restaurant Sign Generator. https://atom.smasher.org/chinese/. Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.
Atom Smasher’s Error Message Generator. https://atom.smasher.org/error/. Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.
Atom Smasher’s Office Sign Generator. https://atom.smasher.org/office/. Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.
MashedPotatoesDick. “Florida Chinese Restaurant Lunch Offer.” R/PoliticalHumor, 3 Sept. 2021, www.reddit.com/r/PoliticalHumor/comments/pgvbp4/florida_chinese_restaurant_lunch_offer/.

Dan Mac Guill is a former writer for Snopes.