Jun 13, 2011 5:00 PM GMT
An online hoax that falsely suggests McDonald's discriminates against African-American customers is causing a PR headache for the Golden Arches.
Over the weekend, the photograph above circulated widely on the internet. The image shows what looks like an official McDonald's notice in the window of a restaurant, telling customers that blacks will be charged $1.50 extra "as an insurance measure due in part to a recent string of robberies."
Many internet users retweeted the photo, using the words "Seriously McDonald's," to express their disapproval of the burger chain.
In response, McDonald's sent a tweet of its own on Saturday: "That pic is a senseless & ignorant hoax McD's values ALL our customers. Diversity runs deep in our culture on both sides of the counter."
But that clearly wasn't enough to clear things up, because Twitter users continued to send out the picture, with that same message of condemnation: "Seriously McDonald's." Indeed, so many people sent "Seriously McDonald's" Tweets that the phrase became a leading entry on Twitter's trend list.
That led to a second, blunter McTweet, on Sunday: "That Seriously McDonalds picture is a hoax."
The latest pushback effort seems to have helped keep the photo from spreading too much further--but there's no telling how many people out there still think the photo is for real.
This is hardly the only recent barrage of negative publicity for the burger behemoth--some of it more justified. McDonalds CEO Jim Skinner recently was forced to defend the company's renewed use of the Ronald McDonald mascot to appeal to children, after critics said the restaurant's fat-laden burgers and fries endanger kids' health.
It's not clear who created the hoax image. It appears to have first showed up on the popular 4chan message board, and it was posted last year on an anti-McDonald's blog.
But there's no doubt it's fake. As some Twitter users have pointed out, the toll-free number given at the bottom of the sign is actually the number for ... Kentucky Fried Chicken.