March 28th, 2017 – Cracker Barrel is an old country store with grand rocking chairs and an even grander social media trolling problem. Their Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yelp accounts have been flooded with faux outrage over the firing of Bradley Reid Byrd’s wife – creating the hashtag #JusticeForBradsWife. It’s what we could call the Harambe of 2017.
Brad’s wife, Nanette, was fired at the end of February after 11 years working as a retail manager at the Corydon location in Indiana. He posted a lengthy account of what happened to his personal Facebook page and then headed over to Cracker Barrel’s company page and asked a short, pointed question.
Those six words got people talking on Brad’s page and the Cracker Barrel page, but it was comedian Amiri King’s post that made this issue spread faster than butter on a warm, buttermilk biscuit.
The justice and explanation for the firing went unanswered throughout the last couple weeks, but the engagement in the conversation soared. Adweek quoted marketing tech company Amobee’s astounding numbers.
“Cracker Barrel’s digital content engagement has increased by 226 percent,” they reported. “From March 22-27, 90 percent of all Cracker Barrel digital content engagement was Brad’s Wife-related.”
The trolling has ranged from memes and photoshopping to constant social account replies and a change.org petition.
The hijacking of Cracker Barrel’s social media accounts is what has reached a point of questionable trolling. In the weeks after the firing, not one post has been immune to trolling. When the restaurant asked users to check out their hand blown glass pitchers, it received “@CrackerBarrel I recall Brad’s wife used to brighten my day by serving sweet lemonade in a pitcher like that. #BradsWife#nowmydaysarecloudy”
When they asked followers to watch Alison Krauss’ warehouse performance, the restaurant was swamped again with sour notes.
And when they made the, um, questionable twitter game of “Tweet Yourself When You Treat Yourself,” users imagined Brad’s wife trying to enjoy sweet tooth tastes on a budget.
Brad had originally asked people to help him find out why his wife was fired, but once the justice fight exploded he asked them to redirect their questions and reminded them of the good people still working at the Corydon location. As of this posting, Cracker Barrel still hasn’t spoken publicly about the matter.
Does #JusticeForBradsWife go too far? Have people crossed a line by overtaking the company’s social media brand? Funny or Offensive? Vote and comment below.