On Tuesday the Laurel Leader-Call in Mississippi ran a story that claims the accusations against a local KFC for throwing a three-year old girl out of the establishment because her disfigured face scared the patrons was nothing more than a fundraising hoax, labeling it the “Kentucky Fried Hoax.”
Of course, when the original story hit the wires on May 15, including a picture of Victoria Wilcher, the 3-year-old who was attacked by her family’s three pit bulls, it pulled at the heart-strings of thousands of people across the internet, and the story went viral as people delighted in seeing a big, bad multinational fast food industry being put on the ropes.
Jackson, Mississippi KFC franchisee owner Dick West, posted this on social media over the weekend: “When the allegation was first made, KFC pledged $30,000 to go to medical expenses and started an investigation to find the truth. They have pledged the money even if it is proven that the incident never happened. At this point their story is full of holes. Any thinking person who follows their timeline can see it. The event at KFC never happened.”
According to the Laurel Leader-Call, several anonymous sources have come forward, saying the story told by the child’s grandmother to a local television station was false. The grandmother, Kelly Mullins, when interviewed by 16 WAPT News said, “The right side of her face is paralyzed. She’s got a lot of surgeries to go through and she won’t even look in the mirror anymore. When we go to a store, she doesn’t even want to get out (of the car). She’s 3 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.”
The story told by the family has been unraveling quickly as events alleged to have taken place are investigated more thoroughly. The family at first gave the name and address of a KFC that has been closed for three years as the location where the incident was supposed to have taken place. That has been changed on their Facebook page.
Security camera footage of both KFC’s show that no one matching the description of the child or her grandmother entered the establishments on May 15,nor did any orders contain sweetened iced tea and mashed potatoes the grandmother alleges were ordered. Sources also say many customers who have been treated at the nearby hospital have eaten at this particular KFC and never been turned away.
The family continues to insist the story is not a hoax. So far over $135,000 in donations have poured into the family since this story went viral, and KFC has promised that whether the investigation shows the story to be true or not, they will still donate $30,000 toward future surgeries for Victoria Wilcher.