By Calvin Palmer
An Arkansas couple is suing McDonald’s after nude photographs of the wife stored on the husband’s cell phone ended up on the Internet after he accidentally left the phone at the fast-food chain’s restaurant in Fayette, Arkansas.
Philip Sherman says staff at the restaurant promised the cell phone would be turned off and securely stored until he could retrieve it. He alleges they went through the phone’s memory, looked at his text messages and images of his wife Tina before posting the pictures online.
The McDonald’s logo and advertising slogan “I’m loving it” appeared next to the nude photographs, along with a caption describing Tina as “hot like McDonald’s coffee.”
Tina’s name, address and contact details were also posted resulting in unwelcome letters, phone calls and e-mails to the point where the couple were forced to move home.
The Shermans are seeking $3 million (nearly £2 million) compensation for emotional distress, embarrassment and damage to their reputation. They also allege loss of earnings and want to reclaim the cost of moving to a new address.
The nude photos had been removed from the site that originally posted them but a professional-looking black and white image of Tina dressed in lingerie, allegedly one of the photographs stored on the phone, has been carried by various news organizations.
Tina Sherman says she started receiving threatening and offensive phone calls and text messages about the pictures shortly after her husband visited McDonald’s on July 5. She was then shocked to discover that several of the images she had sent to her husband had been posted online.
The lawsuit holds the McDonald’s Corporation, together with the local franchise owner, responsible for what it claims were the reckless and abusive actions of its staff.
A spokesman for the company was unavailable for comment.
The quality of the photographs has raised some suspicions that the couple may have engineered an elaborate compensation scam, a suggestion they are likely to deny.
[Based on reports by The Independent and BBC News.]