After a video of her tearful response to a botched McDonald’s order went viral, a Georgia sheriff’s deputy is speaking out about the misconceptions and backlash regarding her response.
Stacy Talbert, a McIntosh County Sheriff’s Department deputy, talked to NBC News about how her Facebook Live decrying her experience at a Richmond Hill McDonald’s garnered sympathy and mockery, with some giving her the nickname “Officer Karen.”
The video, posted by Twitter user Ann, was viewed more than 13 million times before it was recently deleted. In the video, Talbert speaks about her feeling frustrated that she waited a long time at a McDonald’s only to never receive her actual meal. She only got served a coffee, but she said she didn’t correct the McDonald’s worker because she was worried about what would be in her food.
“I don’t know what’s going on with people. Please just give us a break. I don’t know how much I can take,” the deputy said tearfully in the video. “I’ve been in this for 15 years, and I’ve never had this much anxiety about ordering McDonald’s drive-thru food.”
In Ann’s caption of the viral video, she writes, “Stacey who has been a cop for 15 yrs went to @McDonalds She paid for it in advance and this is how she gets treated for being a cop Come on America. We are better than this.”
In an interview Wednesday night, Talbert said her video was not aimed at the restaurant, which she said she’s patronized hundreds of times.
“Everybody lost the whole point of the video,” she said. “I’m just so sick of people being mean.”
She talked to the owners after her botched order, and she explained that her anxiety surrounded her fear to even order food in the current climate. In one instance, three officers were sickened by milkshakes at a New York Shake Shack, and it was originally thought that bleach was put in the officers’ drinks. However, it was found that there was no intentional wrongdoing from the Shake Shack workers.
The owner of the Richmond Hill McDonald’s in question offered apologies to the officer late Wednesday, according to Newsweek. Owner Jill Stanberry said her restaurant aims to give great customer service to those who protect and serve the community, and she hoped her restaurant would get the chance to correct the order for Talbert. “Unfortunately, we were made aware of a local police officer who experienced a longer than usual wait time and did not receive her full order right away at one of our restaurants,” Stanberry said in a statement to Newsweek. “We have been in contact with this officer to apologize for this unsatisfactory experience and let her know that we would love to correct the inaccurate order when she has time. We are happy to report that the officer was never denied service and also shared positive feedback on the employee with whom she interacted.”
The response to her video
Twitter users were split on the video, with some mocking the video and others throwing support behind the officer and dismissing the mockery and the nicknames that came with it Wednesday. Many folks started referring to Talbert as Officer Karen. Karen is a nickname that has been circulating online for white women who have made headlines for calling the police about unfounded or irrelevant issues typically involving black people.
The recent incident involving a woman calling the police on a black birdwatcher who asked her to put her dog on a leash is an example of that.
In this case, many people felt that Talbert’s delayed order did not warrant the tears or the sympathy Ann expressed in the caption of her tweet.
There were some who found her anxiety about her order valid, with some pointing out that race had nothing to do with her video post. Others even called for the McDonald’s employee who got her order wrong to be fired.
Some said it was distasteful for the video to be posted when folks are advocating for equal treatment and protesting officers accused of killing black people.
Some people found the video humorous and created parodies or jokes based off her two-minute video.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.