You may have seen a shocking headline floating around the Internet recently claiming a food writer in Arkansas ate more than 400 Cheddar Bay biscuits at a Red Lobster and ended up in a coma.
"A local food writer was rushed to UAMS hospital last night after consuming 413 Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster. Doctors confirm that he slipped into a coma shortly after being admitted into the emergency room," reported the Rock City Times on June 22.
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The crazy story of a meal gone horribly wrong got picked up internationally by media outlets including the British tabloids the Sun, Daily Mail and Mirror, according to the Huffington Post. There was only one problem -- the story isn't true.
The author of the story, Greg Henderson, writes for the Rock City Times, a Little Rock satirical news source that calls itself "Arkansas' second most unreliable news source."
He told a local news station he got the idea for the piece when he and a food critic friend went to eat at Red Lobster. "He really did actually like the biscuits. He only ate three of them, not 413," Henderson said about his friend, Kevin Shalin.
Though many readers (and other reporters) were fooled by the satirical piece, there were quite a few "facts" that should have been red flags about its authenticity. For example, "Doctors believe the butter from the biscuits have blocked signals coming from Shalin's brain," Henderson wrote. The report also included that doctors had drained "2 gallons of butter" from the man's stomach. Of course, the average human stomach can stretch to hold about two to three liters of food, which is way less than what would be needed to hold hundreds of biscuits and/or two gallons of butter. If the story had been true it would also have meant Shalin had eaten about 62,000 worth of buttery calories.
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Upon realizing the whole thing was a joke, the Sun, Daily Mail, and Mirror took down their stories -- though we didn't notice that they didn't let readers know that it turned out to be fake.
And in case any one was still confused, Shalin tweeted this: