KFC appears to be embarrassed and engaging in damage control after a 3-year-old girl who was injured in a pit bull attack and forced to wear an eye patch was asked by an employee to leave a KFC restaurant because other customers were uncomfortable with the girl’s appearance.
The incident led some would-be customers to consider boycotting KFC, and then the company’s headquarters apologized and said it will donate $30,000 to help pay Victoria Wilcher’s medical costs.
The events started when, earlier this month, the girl’s grandmother, Kelly Mullins, took Victoria to a KFC in Jackson, Miss.
"I ordered a large sweet tea and her some mashed potatoes and gravy because she was hungry," Mullins told WAPT.
"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," CNN quoted the grandmother’s statement to WAPT.
Mullins said her granddaughter cried as the two went home.
"She's got a lot of surgeries to go through and she won't even look in the mirror anymore," Mullins added in the statement to WAPT. "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."
In response to the incident, KFC reportedly said on its Facebook page, “As soon as we learned of the report… we immediately began an investigation. 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. We are making a $30,000 donation to help with her medical bills. The entire KFC family is behind Victoria and her recovery.”
In addition, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger got a tweet from the KFC, "We are working hard to make this right for the family. We do not tolerate the behavior that happened in our restaurant."
According to news reports, Victoria suffered a broken upper jaw, a broken lower jaw, broken nose, and injuries to cheekbones and right eye socket, and she lost the use of her right eye.
Meanwhile, in response to the incident at KFC, Charles Irvin, legal director of the ACLU of Mississippi, said in a statement to InsideCounsel, “The ACLU of Mississippi is dedicated to promoting, defending, and extending civil liberties to all Mississippians. We will monitor the situation and continue to monitor the response of KFC to the actions of their employees. No one should endure humiliation, disrespect or any other form of discrimination. We must always remain vigilant to any acts which degrade basic human dignity and hold responsible any who disregard this principle.”
The Victoria's Victories Facebook page was set up by the family to follow medical progress for the girl and help raise money for her medical care.