A KFC hoax? You may have read about the little girl and her grandmother who were allegedly kicked out of KFC because the young girl's scars and disfigurement were too much for fellow customers to bear – a viral story in the making. And viral it went, causing outcry and strong condemnation across news outlets and social media. Even KFC responded, saying they would pay for the humiliated girl’s medical bills.
Now, it appears it may be nothing more than a huge, distasteful hoax.
On June 16, we brought you this story:
Three-year-old girl Victoria Wilcher was reportedly kicked out of a Mississippi KFC because her severe facial scarring was “scaring customers.” Her injuries came after she was mauled by a pit-bull in April. KFC has stood by their official stance that they are “investigating” the claim, but in the interim, they made a gesture of contrition – reaching out to the family and offering to foot Victoria’s $30K medical bills.
The startling allegation initially surfaced on a Facebook account that detailed the incident. The Facebook page carried a photo, now seen by countless hundreds of thousands, of a smiling but shy Victoria, sporting a cartoon-decorated eye patch, with a caption that said: “Does this look scary to you? Last week at KFC in Jackson MS this precious face was asked to leave because her face scared the other diners.”
At the time, KFC issued the following statement:
As soon as we were notified of this report on Friday, we immediately began an investigation, as this kind of hurtful and disrespectful action would not be tolerated by KFC. Regardless of the outcome of our investigation, we have apologized to Victoria’s family and are committed to assisting them. The company is making a $30,000 donation to assist with her medical bills. The entire KFC family is behind Victoria.
Victoria’s grandmother Kelly Mullins said she took her to KFC after one of Victoria’s many doctor visits. The grandmother said she ordered mashed potatoes for her granddaughter, stating that she thought Victoria “could swallow the soft food without chewing.”
Mullins alleged they were approached by an employee, who said: “We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers.”
Kicked out and utterly humiliated, the little girl cried all the way home, the grandmother recounted. “She won’t even look in the mirror anymore,” Mullins said. “When we go to a store, she doesn’t even want to get out of the car.”
In all, over $135,000 in cash donations and promises of free medical surgeries were made on behalf of Victoria.
Multiple news outlets are now reporting that the story may either be exaggerated or even completely fabricated.
KFC released an updated statement this week:
We continue to take this report seriously, and of course have great sympathy for Victoria and her family. Since we have so far not been able to verify the incident in our internal investigation, we have also hired a third-party consultant to conduct an independent investigation to help us resolve this matter.
The Detroit Free Press documented some of the inconsistencies which are now unraveling the grandmother’s story:
Though the child's grandmother, Kelly Mullins, reported the alleged incident happened on May 15, surveillance videos show no one matching the description of the little girl or her grandmother were in the store that day, the source told the news organization.
Though the grandmother told a local television station that her order included mashed potatoes and sweet tea, records show no such order was placed at around the time the incident was alleged to have taken place, the source said.
The Clarion Ledger also detailed further hiccups in the story.
The results of the official investigation are expected to come this week.
Stay here for updates on this story.