Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Two investigations–one conducted by an independent company–have both failed to find any evidence to support the reported account that a 3-year-old girl and her grandmother were asked to leave a Jackson, Mississippi KFC restaurant because the girl’s scars and bandages were upsetting other customers.
The findings follow a media tidal wave that began with social media-fed outrage over the story that little Victoria Wilcher, who had survived a brutal attack by three pit bull dogs, had been humiliated and refused service in this way. Then, after KFC’s corporate headquarters had pledged to pay $30,000 toward Victoria’s ongoing medical care, word surfaced that the story could not be corroborated and may have been a hoax. This week, the Jackson franchise where the incident allegedly took place announced it was conducting both internal and independent investigations to establish what actually happened.
More from CNN on the investigators’ findings:
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But Tuesday, KFC said it conducted two investigations, including one by an independent investigator, and neither revealed any proof that the scenario described to reporters and on social media actually occurred, KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said in a statement e-mailed to CNN.
The same day, the Victoria’s Victories page appeared to have been removed from Facebook. Shortly before it was taken down, this posting appeared: “I promise its not a hoax, I never thought any of this would blow up the way it has. … Please do not believe untrue media. I have personally watched this family go without to provide for Victoria. They have not and would not do anything to hurt Victoria in any way.”
After the family’s account became public, donations poured into the family’s fund-raising effort at www.gofundme.com. At the time, KFC left an apology on the Facebook page and pledged to donate $30,000 for Victoria’s treatment.
On Tuesday, the CEO of GoFundMe, Brad Damphousse, said in a statement that the fund-raising webpage was suspending the campaign and offering to refund donations.
“In lieu of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the ‘Victoria’s Victories’ online fundraising effort, GoFundMe has temporarily suspended the campaign until the full truth is made clear,” the statement said.
Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
The Jackson, Mississippi Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant at the center of a social media maelstrom after an employee reportedly asked a 3-year-old girl with drastic scars to leave the restaurant has apparently hired independent investigators to look into whether the alleged incident in fact took place.
Victoria Wilcher’s severe scars come from an attack she suffered a few months ago, apparently perpetrated by three pit bull dogs that belonged to her grandfather. She was at the restaurant with her grandmother following a doctor’s appointment that is part of the girl’s ongoing care. The family posted to its Facebook page that an employee stopped them and asked them to leave, saying that the scars and bandages were upsetting other customers. After word of the incident went viral across social media outlets, the company apologized to the family, and spokesman Rick Maynard pledged that KFC would donate $30,000 toward Victoria’s medical bills.
Now the Jackson restaurant, which is a franchised business, has hired its own investigators because it says it can’t readily verify that that the incident took place as reported. More from The Associated Press:
KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said the company is concerned that the Jackson restaurant’s internal investigation couldn’t verify the incident. An outside investigator will conduct an independent investigation, Maynard said.
KFC’s commitment of $30,000 to help with the child’s medical bills will not be affected by the investigation’s outcome, Maynard said.
Allegations that the child was asked to leave the restaurant were made earlier this month on the Facebook site Victoria’s Victories, which has followed the child’s recovery from the attack. KFC posted an apology the next morning and asked for more details about what happened.
Teri Rials Bates, the child’s aunt, runs the Victoria’s Victories Facebook page.
“I promise it’s not a hoax, I never thought any of this would blow up the way it has,” a post said. “I have personally watched this family go without to provide for Victoria. They have not and would not do anything to hurt Victoria in any way.”
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Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
The KFC restaurant chain is apparently making amends after a 3-year-old girl and her family were asked to leave a Mississippi KFC because of the girl’s appearance as she recovers from a serious attack by three pit bulls. Victoria Wilcher was attacked a few months ago, and she was at the restaurant with her grandmother following a doctor’s appointment that is part of her ongoing care.
After word of the incident went viral across social media outlets, the company apologized to the family, and pledged to donate $30,000 toward Victoria’s medical bills.
“The entire KFC family is behind Victoria,” company spokesman Rich Maynard told WTVR. More from the station’s report:
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“She was on a feeding tube at the time, but I figured she could just swallow (the potatoes). They just told us, they said, ‘We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers.’ (Victoria) understood exactly what they said,” [said grandmother Kelly Mullins.]
Victoria cried all the way home, Mullins said.
“She’s got a lot of surgeries to go through and she won’t even look in the mirror anymore,” Mullins told WAPT. “When we go to a store, she doesn’t even want to get out (of the car). She’s three years old and she’s embarrassed about what she looks like. She’s embarrassed and I hate it because she shouldn’t be. It ain’t her fault.”
Victoria’s family recounted the incident in a Facebook page set up to raise money for her medical expenses.
“Does this face look scary to you?” the family posted on the Victoria’s Victories Facebook page. “I personally will never step foot in another KFC again and will be personally writing the CEO.”
The anger spread.
“As soon as we were notified of this report Friday, we immediately began an investigation, as this kind of hurtful and disrespectful action would not be tolerated by KFC,” the company said. “Regardless of the outcome of our investigation, we have apologized to Victoria’s family and are committed to assisting them.”