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."