McD uses social media to respond to violent video

Chain reaches out to customers on Twitter to condemn attack that an employee filmed and posted online

McDonald’s Corp. and a Maryland franchise owner used social media channels over the weekend to communicate with customers after an employee-filmed video of a brutal beating in one of the chain’s restaurants went viral online.

The video, which went up on YouTube.com briefly Friday and was picked up by other websites, drew thousands of views during the day. The three-minute clip showed attackers repeatedly grabbing, punching, kicking and pulling the hair of 22-year-old Chrissy Lee Polis at a franchised McDonald’s in Rosedale, Md., while an older female customer and an employee tried to intervene.

After the video went online, McDonald’s posted a message midday Friday to its more than 121,000 Twitter followers saying, “We aware of the incident in Baltimore and are working with local police in their criminal investigation.”

McDonald’s tweeted several more times about the incident over the weekend. By Saturday afternoon, the chain had condemned the assault on Twitter and reported that the employee responsible for the video had been fired.

A look at some of McDonald's tweets in response to the video:

Mitchell McPherson, franchise owner of the restaurant in Rosedale, said in a statement Saturday that he was “shocked and disturbed by this assault as anyone would be. The behavior displayed in the video is unfathomable and reprehensible.”

McDonald’s Corp. also posted a statement on its website that said the company was working with authorities and that “our thoughts are with the victim during this time.”

“Action has been taken, and the crew member who made the video is no longer employed by his organization,” McDonald’s said in the statement. “Appropriate action regarding other employees will take place as warranted.”

Police have charged Teonna Monae Brown, 18, with felony assault in connection with the beating. A 14-year-old alleged accomplice, who was not identified because of her age, also faces assault charges. Police said hate crime charges were possible.

Transgender-rights and civil rights activists planned a rally on Monday night at the McDonald’s restaurant where the assault occurred.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]