By: Jeremy D. WellsCarter County Times
A post on the satirical Facebook page Graysun KY, announcing the eminent closure of the Smithfield plant in Grayson, had staff and community members in a panic last Thursday as well-intending people spread the false information via social media and text messages to employees.
The scare started with a post to the page, now removed, announcing the immediate closure of the plant and termination of all employees.
Worried community members and family of employees sounded off in the comments section, with some stating they were texting their relatives. Those who said they reached relatives reported they were just as confused, and angry at the lack of notice.
Others took to the comments section to propagate conspiracy theories related to an anti-meat agenda and an orchestrated famine to force the world into vegan or insect based diets.
They all seemed to miss that the page – which intentionally misspells Grayson and also contains posts about Big Mac Sauce McFlurries, Bigfoot at “Graysun Lake,” and the Loch Ness Monster visiting the Little Sandy River – is labeled as a satire and parody source. Though some seemed to get the joke, and either explained it to the panicked or played along, depending on their temperament, enough took it seriously for Smithfield corporate to take the post seriously as well.
Representatives at the local plant said they were addressing rumors internally and referred the Times to vice president of corporate affairs, Jim Monroe, with the home office in Smithfield, VA.
Monroe confirmed there was no truth to the rumors.
“We have no plans to close our facility,” Monroe said in an immediate email response to our query.
In a follow-up phone call he added they had been made aware of some, “very inaccurate Facebook content that’s been floating around,” and were addressing it.
“In a nutshell… it’s completely inaccurate information,” he said. “We have no plans to close our Grayson facility. It’s business as usual.”
The Times also reached out to the administrators of the Graysun KY Facebook page for comment, but they had not responded at press time.
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