Whoa! A black Colonel Sanders?
That’s what several media outlets, including The Huffington Post and New York Daily News, reported Thursday. Specifically they announced that KFC had supposedly shattered racial barriers by tabbing black actor and comedian David Alan Grier to be the first African American to portray the very white southern fried pitchman.
Only, yeah. It’s not true. They fell for Grier’s ruse.
On Thursday, the former “In Living Color” comedian who now appears in NBC’s “The Carmichael Show” sent out a “breaking news” tweet (as a joke, but appearing to be serious) that KFC had cast him as the first African American to play the fried chicken franchise’s founder in a new ad campaign.
Given the revolving door of comedians who have portrayed the chicken-chain’s founder — Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald and Jim Gaffigan — the move seemed plausible, if controversial, as long as you didn’t bother to check it out.
The Huffington Post jumped all over it.
“You’ll Never Guess Who KFC Just Chose To Be Colonel Sanders” it trumpeted in its headline. “It’s a Greasy Job, But Someone’s Got to Do It.” (HuffPo has since updated the post).
The New York Post even posted a video, titled “Meet the first black Col. Sanders.”
Grier retweeted every inaccurate story.
The comedian’s fans both congratulated him and questioned him. And they retweeted his original post hundreds of times.
Eventually the jig was up.
“Despite what you may have heard, David Alan Grier is not the new Colonel Sanders,” tweeted his Marte PR Agency.
“There is no new Colonel Sanders,” KFC’s chief marketing officer, Kevin Hochman, said in a statement released the same day.
But the fast-food giant appreciated the free plug.
“We are very excited to learn that Mr. Grier is such a big fan of KFC and the Colonel,” Hochman said. “We’re a big fan of him as well.”
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the comedian would send out the purposely misleading tweet. After all in his own Twitter bio he describes himself, among other things, as a “raconteur, liar, con man (and) teller of tall tales.”