Amy's Baking Company: Overcooked Reality and the Decline of Western Civility
"Obviously our Facebook, YELP, Twitter and Website have been hacked. We are working with the local authorities as well as the FBI computer crimes unit to ensure this does not happen again. We did not post those horrible things. Thank You Amy & Samy"
Obviously? Was it so obvious that a woman who called a Yelp reviewer "ugly" and a "moron" and who heatedly fired on the spot a young woman (whom she later called a "poisonous little viper") on Kitchen Nightmares for asking Amy, "Are you sure?" wasn't capable of penning those earlier Facebook posts? Was it so hard to believe that her husband, a man whose temper suddenly was legendary (thanks to his willingness to reveal it on national television) and who had no issues with taking the tips of those who work for him, couldn't do the same?
Innocence is what the Bouzaglos wanted us to "obviously" believe. But given their unchanging behavior, including a line on a remaining Amy's Baking Company Facebook post from the couple that read, "We do not feel the need to make any excuses for our behavior on tonight's show" (Were we ever looking for excuses in the first place?), their lack of guilt was a pill that proved too tough for many to swallow.
The mob remained angry, appalled, and dissatisfied -- and the number of online comments continued to grow.
"Well, here I am at Amy's BakAAAAAAARRRGGGH SHE'S MURDERING ME SHE'S EATING MY EYES JESUS FUCK MY CHRIST AAAAAa;nfqkhb"
On May 14, that Tweet, sent by comedian/actor Patton Oswalt, joined the schadenfreude, an ever-increasing onslaught of jabs, jokes, commentaries, and postulations from what seemed to be everyone else on the planet who, by now, knew of the Bouzaglos, Amy's Baking Company, and what appeared to be the most epic online meltdown in history.
For media outlets everywhere, it was the biggest (non-)news story of the year and, for marketing gurus, a real-world example of how not to manage your brand via social media. From the Washington Post, CBS News, and Forbes to food-minded web pages like Eater, The Braiser, and Epicurious to fringe websites like Buzzfeed, The Consumerist, and Videogum, everyone was (and still is) talking about Amy's. Even spiky-haired celebrity chef Guy Fieri, no stranger to Internet blow-ups himself (thanks to New York Times food critic Pete Wells' brutal, zero-star review of Fieri's Times Square restaurant) quipped on the Today show, "I'm actually in awe."
But the media aftermath following the Kitchen Nightmares episode and the Bouzaglos' public crash and burn on social media wasn't to be the last act of the show. On Wednesday, May 15, perhaps surprised by the national reaction -- and realizing the futility of their attempted defense -- or simply wanting to wage yet another battle in their unwinnable war -- Amy and Samy enlisted a public relations firm to help them to try and clean up their self-imposed mess: Scottsdale-based Rose+Moser+Allyn Public & Online Relations. In fact, the moment the supposedly obvious "we've been hacked" post on the restaurant's Facebook page showed up, many smelled the work of a character as colorful and controversial as the Bouzaglos themselves.