Oh, the power of social media. The latest example of a frenzy that could only exist with social media is courtesy of a man posting photos to Instagram, and posting photos and a video to his Facebook page showing a piece of fried chicken from a fast-food restaurant. Why the frenzy? He says it’s actually fried rat. The fried item does have a suspicious ratlike appearance, but whether or not it’s a rat is up for debate.
If it is a rat, the ewww factor is off the scale, and I suspect that is why the story has gone viral. The video on Facebook has more than 7,800 shares. One of the Facebook photos has more than 129,000 shares. He was interviewed on the Randy Economy Show at a local radio station in Southern California on June 13. A search on YouTube for “fried rat” that is sorted by upload date reveals more than 50 videos about the incident. The news articles about this number in the hundreds.
Snopes.com weighed in on the controversy in its food horrors section, which was updated on June 16 to include the incident. The Snopes verdict? “In this case it looks like the customer in question simply found an oddly-shaped Chicken Tender, one that was vaguely rat-shaped with a tail-like section, and made the claim that it was actually rodent meat.”
You can judge for yourself with the images from the Instagram account of Devorise Dixon, the man who began the frenzy last week.
An Imgur member named smilingturtle posted an analysis of the situation, asking what the Imgur community believes.
In a Huffington Post article by Andres Jauregui, KFC, the restaurant in question, stated that it has been unsuccessful in attempts to reach Mr. Dixon and is not cooperating with its investigation. “Based on this, and the fact that he refuses to allow anyone to see the product, we are left to believe that he intended to deceive the public with this hoax and we are considering all options,” according to the KFC statement. Dixon had not responded to a request for comment by the Huffington Post sent via Facebook.
Whatever turns out to be the truth, I’m glad it’s likely not a pet rat in question.