Local prank draws big attention

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

An apparent prank by two employees of the local Taco Bell made headlines around the nation — and sparked a storm on social media — but ultimately cost the two their jobs, according to published reports.

On Sunday, JJ O’Brien Nolan posted a photo on Taco Bell’s Facebook page depicting a young man (whose name has been published on Facebook but not confirmed by the News Review) licking a stack of taco shells. The caption read, “This sure says a lot about your employees, food treatment and what they post on the Internet.”

By Tuesday the photo had been shared and commented on by countless thousands. While the unsavory act sparked outrage and disgust for many, others defended the act as a harmless joke involving what they hoped were expired shells destined for the trash.

Although management of the local eatery did not answer the phone, and corporate officials did not return calls by press time, spokespersons of the institution have addressed the situation in many other media outlets, indicating that the action was in violation of both public health and corporate codes of conduct.

“We have strict food handling procedures and zero tolerance for any violations,” a Taco Bell spokesperson posted under Nolan’s original photo. “We believe this is a prank and the food was not served to customers. We are conducting an investigation and will be taking swift action against those involved.”

Media reports circulated yesterday indicate that Taco Bell has suspended the subject of the photo for his role in the shenanigans. The photographer reportedly no longer works at Taco Bell.

Silence from the local franchise prohibits a report of how the marketing nightmare has impacted business.

Story First Published: 2013-06-05