Whose Fault is the KFC Hoax? Maybe it’s Yours

dam thoughts, barry currin, beaverdamusa.comLittle Victoria Wilcher is a victim, again.

By now you know the Internet firestorm about her getting kicked out of a Mississippi KFC because of her facial scars was apparently a hoax. Made up. Not true. Total BS.

The Laurel Leader-Call newspaper, citing a source “deep” in the investigation, broke the story earlier in the week after the family changed their story more times than the Colonel has herbs and spices. For instance, investigators looked at hours of surveillance footage from several locations and never saw Victoria or her grandmother, Kelly Mullins, even go to any of the KFCs in the area. The incident allegedly happened on May 15, but the family didn’t report it until June 12. The family has since taken down their Victoria’s Victories Facebook page. Their gofundme.com page is gone, as well. And the web site is refunding donors’ money. Their original story, incidentally, said they were kicked out of a KFC location which has been out of business for years. (In fairness, I will say the family is sticking to their guns.)

KFC took the high road and said, “After the alleged incident was reported to us, two investigations took place, including one by an independent investigator. Neither revealed any evidence that the incident occurred and we consider the investigation closed.”

I feel sorry for Victoria for several reasons. First, I feel sorry for her because her face is likely scarred for life and she only has one eye. I feel even more sorry for her because her injuries reportedly resulted from a mauling by her grandfather’s three pit bulls. Her grandfather’s pit bulls. But I feel most sorry for her — by far — because it looks like her family just simply pimped her out.

I would be willing to bet there are people out there who believe it was some kind of a Robin Hood thing, and the family was going to use the $130,000 they raised for Victoria’s medical care. If you believe that, I am Brad Pitt.

Victoria and KFC weren’t the only innocent victims, though. Innocent restaurant employees received threats, had food thrown at them and feared for their lives from outraged citizens. One employee said he was afraid to wear his KFC work uniform in public for fear of retaliation. Here’s a guy trying to support himself and probably a family on minimum wage, and he is afraid to wear his uniform to work. Let that sink in.

So whose fault is it? The landslide of evidence indicates KFC didn’t do anything wrong. You can’t blame the little girl. You can’t even blame the granny. She didn’t make the story go viral.

So who is to blame?

Maybe you are.

You are to blame if you shared it on Facebook. You are to blame if you tweeted it. You are to blame if you Instagram-ed, googleplus-ed, or whatever else-ed the story forward.

Why is it so much fun to throw gasoline on every Internet spark we see? Why are we so quick to believe everything Facebook tells us is true?  Sadly, viral stories rarely have brakes, and they never have fact checkers. It’s simply pathetic. We are simply pathetic. And just in case you are wondering, Obama is not taking “In God We Trust” off of currency. The Sandy Hook school rampage wasn’t a hoax. And that kid didn’t color on his father’s passport.

The Washington Post actually runs a story each Friday pointing out the fake things that went viral on social media during the week.

That kind of ignorance is nothing new. The Internet simply magnifies it. When I was in the third grade, my teacher told the class that the moon landing was a fake. That’s funny, I thought, since I saw Apollo 11 lift off in person. Not to mention that my father and probably half the parents of my classmates worked either directly or indirectly for the space program in Huntsville, Ala. Thank God the teacher didn’t have Facebook at her disposal back then. She only had a class of 30 impressionable 10-year-olds.

In the Victoria scandal, though, I am most disappointed in the news media. You fueled the fire, CNN. So did you, FOX News. Those were the first and only places I looked, but I figure all the others followed suit. That is a sorry, horrible excuse for journalism. We are supposed to be able to trust the media to at least try and get a story right or kill a fabricated story.

One of my college journalism professors told us a million times, “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” It used to be rule No. 1 of journalism. Apparently it isn’t anymore.

To its credit, KFC is still giving the $30,000 for Victoria’s medical bills they originally pledged when they were thrown into the middle of this mess. I realize $30,000 is just a crumb in the chicken bucket to them, but they didn’t have to do it. I hope the Colonel has the good sense to make out the check to the doctor.

And I also hope Victoria Wilcher will rise above what life has already spat on her in her 3 short years and do some good in the world. If she does, I hope I read about it on Facebook. But if I do, I won’t believe it until I check it out.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

Comments

  1. meswenson925@gmail.com says:

    You nailed it!

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