Port Stephens police are appealing for witnesses to come forward following a physical altercation between two reality television stars and a woman at a Shoal Bay cafe on the long weekend, which was allegedly sparked by a racial slur from a customer.
Police had been told a verbal argument broke out between a couple, Cyrell Paule from television show Married at First Sight and boyfriend Eden Dally from Love Island, and a 25-year-old female customer of the Government Road cafe about 2.30pm on Sunday, which then turned physical.
On Tuesday the cafe's owner, who requested to go by her first name, Deb, said that social media users had wrongly believed cafe staff were involved but they were not involved at all.
The incident had been damaging to both her business and her personal life.
"It has taken a heavy toll on myself and my business. My Facebook page has been ruined, and I have had to turn off my business and mobile numbers due to the harassing calls and threats. One anonymous caller threatened to burn down my shop," she said.
The Examiner has attempted to make contact with Ms Paule for comment.
Deb said that she was extremely upset with the way emotions on social media had flared up over the incident and confirmed that she and her two staff, her daughters, working on the day had no involvement in the altercation or any alleged name-calling.
"I have given my statement to detectives. Neither myself or my staff had anything to do with [the incident]," Deb told the Examiner.
"At the time we had a number of customers in the shop who spotted the celebrities walking past on the footpath outside.
"One of the female customers went outside to take a photo and then we heard an argument. The celebrities drove away but came back into the shop and spotted the customer. I came out of the kitchen and saw all three became physical. I was in shock, I couldn't say a word.
"Another customer tried to break up the fight and eventually the couple left. Following an Instagram post by the couple we began to get calls of abuse and personal threats which is why went to the police."
Paule, who was born to Filipino parents, and Dally took to social media platform Instagram following the incident.
"So I'm a little shaken up right now because me and Eden were just about to leave Shoal Bay, we just had lunch and this lady... thought it would be hilarious while I'm walking down the street to turn around and call me a 'f***ing black...," Paule, 30, said in a video uploaded to her Instagram story on Sunday.
Dally, 26, interjected when Paule began crying.
"[The woman] called [Cyrell] a black monkey and came outside and tried to fight her so I walked in the cafe and said 'what's the need to be racist and call people black monkeys?' Then she grabbed Cyrell by the throat and pushed her and I had to defend Cyrell," Dally said in the video.
"And then they're pushing me and filming it claiming that they're the victims. I'm saying why [are they] coming out calling her a black monkey? You're a disgrace. You're an embarrassment."
In their social media posts Paule and Dally named the Shoal Bay cafe and mistakenly accused staff members of being involved.
The pair were in Port Stephens after making a scheduled appearance at Shoal Bay Country Club on Friday night.
Acting Inspector Kristin Marshall from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District said police were concerned about the commentary being made on social media about the incident and "would like to clarify at no time were anyone employed by the business involved in the incident".
"Police are aware that a number of social media posts have been made in relation to the incident and will be investigating."
Video recorded of the incident inside the cafe was also shared to Paule's Instagram, along with messages of support she had received on social media about the incident.
According to police, officers were called to the cafe following the confrontation.
It is understood that Paule and Dally had been walking past the cafe when the female customer reportedly went outside to film the pair.
Police were told that a verbal argument broke out. The altercation became physical inside the cafe and another female customer allegedly intervened and attempted to separate the parties.
Paule and Dally took to Instagram again on Monday night to speak further on the incident, saying they had been asked by police to take down their videos.
"Basically they wanted us to take down the video of the racism abuse and physical abuse that we had received yesterday at [cafe]," Paule said in the video. "We pretty much said no to this."
Dally added that he thought it was a "weird request to make because it's freedom of speech".
While the pair spoke about their "shock" of the incident, Paule and Dally called for calm and requested the public stop making threats to the cafe.
"The racism I copped in the first place was enough. We don't want to spread anymore hate," Paule said.