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The story of Abby Farle – a Chick-Fil-A fail or an innocent girl besmirched?

Shutterstock image

Oh you gotta love Facebook sometimes. So much can happen in such a short period of time. Take for example this week’s brouhaha over Chick-Fil-A and a sweet smiling girl named Abby Farle.

Most likely you have heard recently about Chick-Fil-A’s support of anti-gay Christian groups and company President Dan Cathy’s confirmation of said support as well as its opposition to gay marriage in particular. There’s nothing new here, really. More than a few corporations have lined up against the gay political agenda. Here’s a handy list, so you can adjust your shopping habits according to your own stance on the issue. For balance, here’s a list of companies that support gay rights, compiled by some anti-gay rights folks. (I note that Bain & Company is on there.)

In response to Chick-Fil-A’s position, the Jim Henson Company issued a statement on its Facebook page that reads, “The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavours. Lisa Henson, our CEO, is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).” (14,517 Likes and 6,220 shares). No more Miss Piggy or Kermit for them – not to mention Ernie and Bert.

The folk at Chick-Fil-A then contended that they had, in fact, pulled the Muppet toys from its stores some weeks ago, due to safety issues. Chick-Fil-A spokeswoman, Tiffany Greenway, told HuffPost Gay Voices that the company had decided to recall the Muppets toys nationwide “for the protection of our customers.” She claimed it had nothing to do with the Jim Henson Company’s statement. They have also denied the allegation on their own Facebook page, asking their supporters to share the statement (65,222 Likes and 9,419 shares).

Well, the chicken batter thickens. On Wednesday, the following exchange occurred on the Chick-Fil-A’s Facebook page. Someone named Chris posted a comment on the Chick-fil-A Facebook page saying: “Admit it, Chick-fil-A, you stopped carrying Jim Henson’s puppets as kids meal toys because you got dumped for being bigots, not because some kids ‘got their fingers stuck.’”

Chick-Fil-A Facebook

Then a sweet looking Facebook user named Abby Farle responded to that post: “it was taken back weeks before any of this… check your info Chris… John 3:16.” I presume that last bit is a bible reference that reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I’m not sure I get the reference.

Then Chris said, “Weeks? Chick-fil-a announced the recall five days ago.”

Then Abby Farle said, with an apparent lack of knowledge in basic grammar, “no my friend went to chickfila 3 weeks ago and there was no toys. derr”

Then – a clever little cookie (monster?) named Robert, noticed that Abby had only joined Facebook 8 hours previously and that her Facebook image was a shutterstock image entitled “Pretty Redhead Smiling Stock Photo“. In fact, the photo still had the shutterstock watermark on it.

FAIL, Chick-Fil-A! Or so the internet scuttlebutt would have you believe. The Chick-Fil-A folks denied on BuzzFeed that they set up a false account for Abby Farle. The anti-Chick-Fil-A’s are sceptical. But, they are a big company undergoing some fairly intense media scrutiny at the moment. So, you could assume they have some savvy PR folks in their corner who would know better than to try a scam as stupid as this. Maybe it was created by an employee without management knowing? Perhaps a member of the public decided to rush to their favorite chicken’s aid in its time of need? It’s just like ex-presidential nominee and Fox News host Mike Huckabee suggested in his appeal for a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. Or perhaps it is a pro-gay marriage operative seeking to discredit Chick-Fil-A, by stealth. Of course, little Abby Farle could be a real girl and she has been terribly besmirched, as not existing at all. Having said that, she has yet to surface to defend herself.

No matter, really. The digital populace has now taken her as their own and she seems to be becoming a voice of mockery, aimed squarely at Chick-Fil-A. There are currently three Facebook pages for Abby, sporting the shutterstock photo. One page has over 600 Likes. In the “About” section, she says she likes chicken and finger puppets but she seems a bit confused about her gay marriage stance at the moment. She is posting everything from Rick Santorum’s tweets, supporting Huckabee’s Chick-Fil-A’s Appreciation day, to a video from the conservative National Organization for Marriage, to a link to Donate (the cost of) a Chicken Dinner for Marriage Equality Day. So, who knows who is pulling her strings at the moment!

Some dude has also got hold of abbyfarle.com and is using it to push his guide to using social media to grow his business. I won’t link to the address, out of a need not to help him sell more copies off the back of a serious issue.

You can even go and create your own Abby Farle meme and follow her on twitter at @abbyfarle (I love Jesus and Chick-Fil-A) – although she only has 106 followers at the moment.

No doubt this will all be over this time next week and Abby will go off into trending oblivion with the billions of other absurdities that, for an instant, seem to be all us digitalphiles can share, post or tweet about.

No matter which side of the gay rights argument you fall, I hope we can at least have a smile together at how ridiculous things can get sometimes. This particular episode may well be one that ultimately brings Chick-Fil-A the sort of attention that no business likes to attract.  On the other hand, its’ supporters may rally and, as they say , no news is bad news.

But, as someone who is in the camp of not currently being able to marry the person I choose, I hope one day soon we can all just live and let live and enjoy our chicken dinners in peace and harmony. Where do you stand?

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This post is categorized in: Politics

About Patrick Doherty

Patrick Doherty is marketing, branding and communications leader with over 20 years experience. As a student the MCDM program Patrick is focused on understanding how media, digital technology and social networks can transform social and cultural norms as well as the way we do business.

8 Responses to The story of Abby Farle – a Chick-Fil-A fail or an innocent girl besmirched?

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