In mid-August 2016, the term “McChicken” (a reference to a chicken sandwich sold by the international fast-food chain McDonald’s in several countries) began topping trending topics lists on social media for what most users initially imagined was a promotional reason.
However, those who clicked on related links did not find news of a McDonald’s coupon, promo deal, or reboot of the sandwich. In a rumor evocative of several long-circulating urban legends about semen in fast food (or other sex-related contamination), the viral hashtag and topic stemmed from a video depicting what appeared to be a man graphically engaged in a sex act with a McChicken sandwich.
The explicit content of the video meant that the McChicken trend soon became sort of online game of Whack-a-Mole, where users of social networks eagerly sought the clip out only to express firm regret they did so:
*sees McChicken video*
*goes back to church*
— Ryan Broems (@ryanbroems) August 28, 2016
*Logs on Twitter*
Me: Lol why is McChicken trending?
— Steve Patrick (@thestevepatrick) August 28, 2016
When you learn why McChicken is trending and see it becoming a meme on your timeline pic.twitter.com/qniyDsKiDA
— EnVy JKap (@JKap415) August 28, 2016
*Opens Twitter… See’s McChicken is trending. Clicks to see why….*
19 seconds later…. my reaction pic.twitter.com/rxKqeShTqO
— GS (@MrGoldenSports) August 28, 2016
— ╬ (@YousofMando23) August 28, 2016
*McDonalds logs onto Twitter*
“Oh hey, McChicken is trending!”
*clicks on video*
[5 seconds later] pic.twitter.com/XzljpbfPYb
— Lacey Nycole (@LaceyNycole) August 28, 2016
For those who wished to watch a review of the viral video rather than the clip itself, other netizens provided fellow users a leg up on the controversy:
McChicken is trending. here’s why. pic.twitter.com/OaRoHaoVdJ
— Sky Williams (@SkyWilliams) August 28, 2016
The identical clips are obviously graphic and include no foreplay, launching directly into close-up footage of a man apparently bonking a McChicken sandwich.