McDonald’s McChicken Sandwich Is Going Viral for a Terrible Reason

August 30, 2016, 2:15 PM UTC
McDonald's Same Store Sales Up 7.1 Percent In January
Photograph by Justin Sullivan — Getty Images

A graphic video of a man engaging in a sexual act with a McDonald’s McChicken sandwich has gone viral.

The #McChicken hashtag was trending on Sunday evening and into Monday for what many people reportedly thought was for promotional reasons. However, those who clicked on the related links did not find a promotion or coupon. Instead, they were faced with a video containing explicit content, first reported.

But people’s responses to the video is what propelled it to a top trending topic on both Facebook and Twitter, Business Insider reports. The McChicken video had thousands of responses on social media, with most people expressing disgust. Celebrities like Seth Rogan and Chrissy Teigen even had something to say about the #McChicken fiasco.

According to Business Insider, the viral #McChicken hashtag is another example of how social media platforms’ algorithms that track and promote trending news can have serious effects on a brand—whether that be positive or negative.

Although not grotesque, the viral nature of the McChicken video is similar to when Starbucks released plain red cups in light of the holiday season last winter. Many customers were irked by this, saying that the coffee chain was dismissing Christmas as a Christian holiday via the unadorned cups.

The issue was further perpetuated after an Arizona-based evangelist posted a video of himself to Facebook ordering a drink and telling the Starbucks barista his name was “Merry Christmas,” which was then scribbled on the cup. The video was watched about 12 million times and shared by nearly 500,000 people.


But regardless of the red-cup controversies, Starbucks reported one of its most successful holiday seasons ever—meaning McDonald’s (MCD) may see similar success despite the explicit content of the video.

Fortune has reached out to McDonald’s for comment and will update the story if it responds.

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