The jig is up.
The heart-wrenching story of a badly disfigured 3-year-old child being asked to leave a Jackson Kentucky Fried Chicken because her appearance was scaring other customers was a story generated out of whole cloth and resulted in the family bilking the public and professionals for more than $135,000 in cash, as well as gifts and free surgeries, sources with deep knowledge of the investigation said exclusively to the Laurel Leader-Call.
The sources spoke on the condition of strict anonymity because they were not permitted to speak on the record.
A third-party mediator has been brought in on the case and he has been investigating the claims. No one with KFC, including Jackson franchise owner Kirk Hannon, would comment on the investigation until it is completed but they did release the following statement on Friday.
“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,” Hannon said in a statement reported by WJTV. “We have always prided ourselves on respect for all people and we will continue to emphasize this to all our employees. In addition, regardless of the outcome of the current investigation, KFC Corporation has committed $30,000 to assist with Victoria’s medical bills. Along with the KFC Corporation, we are determined to get to the truth and address the situation appropriately.”
Of the findings, the sources said:
Victoria’s Victories changed its story Friday, saying the State Street reference was a mistake. In it, Bates wrote. “Im the Aunt, I run her page and Im the one that miss quoted that it was State street when it was actually Woodrow Wilson.
Dont blame the grandmother for my mistake!
The source said it was no mistake at all.
“It just didn’t happen,” the source said.
The story began going viral on June 12 when Victoria’s Victories page posted: “Does this face 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. I personally will never step foot in another KFC again and will be personally writing the CEO.”
After it went viral, employees and managers at both Jackson locations have faced death threats, have had drinks thrown at them through the drive-thru window and have faced constant verbal harassment, the source confirmed. One employee told the Leader-Call on June 20 that it was the first day since the firestorm erupted that he would wear his KFC work shirt in public.
Mullins’ attorney, Bill Kellum of Jackson, said until he received word from the investigation launched by KFC that he could not comment. The findings of the report are expected this week.
“You can write what you want to, but until I hear from them, I have no comment,” Kellum said by telephone Friday afternoon.
Reached again Monday he said the primary goal is to help Victoria’s recovery. He said the family did not go searching for national attention, although they were the ones who first posted the event.
Kellum also said the family has not decided on whether to even accept the $30,000 KFC pledged soon after the story went viral.
“This doesn’t go to the family, they don’t want it; it just goes for Victoria,” said Kellum, who said he has yet to hear the findings of a third-party investigator, but that he has talked to the investigator and he is hearing differently than this story.
“While we are pleased that KFC has brought in a third-party investigator, our primary goal isto help Victoria recuperate,” he said.