It was a story that sparked chaos and excitement for a small cafe in far north Queensland.
On Thursday, in an interview with ABC, the manager of a Cairns cafe claimed Kim Kardashian had joined her comedian boyfriend Pete Davidson for a meal the day before – in what appears to have been a hoax.
Matt Black, manager of Edge Hill’s Botanica Cafe Bar Kitchen, told ABC the couple had come in with their security detail on Wednesday.
“They sent their security detail in, and they looked at the menu, then asked if we had room for a couple of private guests, who are hoping to take over the inside,” Black told ABC.
“Sure enough, in walked bloody Kimmy K and Pete Davidson.”
Black described the couple as “super cool and respectful” and said staff was asked to put their phones down, so they didn’t take pictures of the pair.
He said the couple had asked him not to tell anyone what they ate – but they had loved it.
The story was accompanied by pictures of the pair on a recent tropical holiday posted to Kardashian’s Instagram.
“Beach for 2,” Kardashian posted on Wednesday, with ten photos of the couple enjoying an unknown tropical location – kayaking and wading through the water.
But the story had been removed from the ABC website by Friday afternoon. The Botanica Cafe would not comment through official channels, but Black said on Facebook it had “been a wild ride”.
“Honestly, this little local joke has turned into an unbelievable mess,” Black said.
Sign up to receive the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning
“I knew it would get some likes and a few comments for a small-town laugh, but never to make anyone lose their minds over two people’s breakfast!”
Black said it had gotten twisted, and people had put their narratives on why he did the prank.
“A simple joke turned into news outlets running what they wanted for their likes and comments! I think it’s all a bit crazy.”
In a statement on Friday night, an ABC spokesperson said it “acknowledges inaccuracies” in the report.
“The story has been removed, and the ABC is reviewing the processes that led to its publication,” the spokesperson said.
There is now speculation the photos were not taken on Queensland’s pristine beaches but were actually from a recent trip to Tahiti.
Davidson is in Queensland to film the upcoming comedy Wizards! But appears to have flown there solo – with Kardashian photographed in LA on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday evening Davidson was seen in the Timezone games arcade. According to the Cairns Post, he “mingled with other patrons who took their chance to pose up with the comedian, but was mostly left alone by staff members”.
On Friday, Botanica Cafe posted a picture to their Instagram story of a TV news crew doing a live cross from outside the cafe.
The image was captioned: “Chasing the scoop,” with a hand making a thumbs-up sign in the foreground.
A representative for Davidson reportedly told the Daily Mail: “Pete is currently in production in Australia without Kim.”
Davidson’s co-star actor Orlando Bloom and his pop star girlfriend, Katy Perry also landed in Queensland on Wednesday.