An officer said his McDonald’s coffee came with a vulgar ‘pig’ message. He made it up.

Herington Police Chief Brian Hornaday, enraged by what he described as an insult to one of his newly minted officers, wanted a viral moment.

A McDonald’s employee had written “f—ing pig” on the officer’s coffee cup, Hornaday said in a Facebook post Saturday, and when confronted, the restaurant offered a free meal to the rookie cop. “A Big Mac and large fries doesn’t make up for it,” Hornaday wrote.

“Please share!” he added.

People did, and intense controversy rippled nationwide from the small Kansas town west of Topeka, emblematic, some believed, of the idea police officers are besieged by disrespect and hatred in their communities.

The tale unraveled, bit by bit, following an investigation by McDonald’s and the department, revealing a conclusion that went viral a second time — and not in the way Hornaday first intended in his now-deleted post.

“This was completely and solely fabricated by a Herington police officer who is no longer employed by our agency,” Hornaday said at a news conference Monday, telling reporters the 23-year-old officer resigned after he “confessed” to staging the incident.

The officer, whom Hornaday did not name, was making a “joke.” But in a nod to the brush fire nature of social media that can spin a narrative out of control, the chief admonished the officer for not coming forward after the story made national news.

“We can see how something so serious can get so out of control very, very quickly,” he said. Earlier Monday, Hornaday deleted his original Facebook post, which revealed the store’s address.

The attention prompted threats to the store in nearby Junction City, he said, and advocates rallied in the officer’s defense. Law Enforcement Today, an online publication written by and for officers, said it sent care packages of coffee after it identified the officer before the ruse was revealed.

“Incidents like this are what hurts officers’ credibility, and their trust from their communities,” the site wrote in a follow-up post.

The incident mirrored an actual event at a Starbucks in Oklahoma last month, when a barista was fired after the company concluded the employee wrote “pig” on a cup for an officer.

But in this instance, the local McDonald’s dug in and reviewed video surveillance of its employees, and it “clearly shows the words were not written by one of our employees,” store owner Dana Cook told KSNT on Monday.

Hornaday praised the store’s investigative process, which mirrored his, he said.

In his deleted post, he called the original, fabricated incident a “black eye” for Junction City but conceded the embarrassment was rooted elsewhere.

“I hope [the former officer] understands the magnitude of the black eye this gives the law enforcement profession from coast to coast,” he said. “None of this can be excluded from that.”

The officer who resigned was on the force for only about two months, Hornaday said, and he joined the department after serving as an Army military police soldier.

The screening process is rigorous, with a focus on integrity, the chief said.

Herington, with a population north of 2,000, is now left with only five full-time officers, including himself, Hornaday said.

He predicted the incident would become a teachable moment at police academies.

Then he explained he was about to break bread at a McDonald’s following the news conference.

“Now if you excuse me, I’ve got a Quarter Pounder with cheese on my mind, and I’m going to go get it,” he said.

A sculpture of Ronald McDonald on a cross ignites violent clashes in Israel

Artwork depicting a crucified Ronald McDonald remains on display in Israel despite protests and calls for its removal from the country’s Arab Christian community.

The sculpture, named “McJesus,” was meant to be a critique of society’s capitalistic culture, Haifa Museum of Art officials told the Associated Press. The demonstrations began last week and came as a surprise to museum director Nissim Tal, who indicated that the sculpture had been up for months and shown in other countries without incident.

The AP reports that the protests were sparked by scores of visitors to the museum sharing photos of “McJesus” on social media, upsetting many Arab Christians, who considered the sculpture insensitive to their religion. Tal told the Jerusalem Post that more than 30,000 people have viewed the exhibit featuring “McJesus” since opening night in August.

.. “This is very offensive, and I cannot consider this art,” Amir Ballan, an artist in Haifa and a Christian, told the AP. “We will continue through peaceful rallies and candle vigils. … We won’t be quiet until we reach a solution.”

.. “This is the maximum that we can do,” Tal told the AP. “If we take the art down, the next day we’ll have politicians demanding we take other things down, and we’ll end up only with colorful pictures of flowers in the museum.”

Jani Leinonen, the Finnish artist behind “McJesus,” told the Jerusalem Post that the sculpture was displayed against his wishes. He said he wants it removed from the exhibit because he supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, better known as BDS. The Palestinian-led initiative calls for boycotting Israeli goods and services to pressure Israel to end its occupation.

Israel argues that BDS is anti-Semitic and undermines the nation’s right to exist, and it has banned those associated with the movement from entering the country.

The Challenge of Rebranding Donald Trump

Talking with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly earlier this week, Trump appeared to be edging toward a deportation policy not much different from the one adopted by the Obama Administration. “What people don’t know is that Obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country,” he said. “Lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws. Well, I’m going to do the same thing.” Then, speaking to CNN on Thursday night, he backtracked, saying that under a Trump Administration all undocumented immigrants would have to leave the country before applying for legal status.

.. In many rebrandings, there is a tension between the urgent need to change public perceptions of the company and the danger of alienating existing customers and stakeholders.

.. A successful rebranding campaign has to have two elements. It must be surprising enough to attract people’s attention and make them think again about a company or product. And it must be credible.

This exercise never passed the credibility test. In 2005, a BP-owned refinery in Texas blew up, killing twenty-five people; in 2006, a pipeline owned by BP failed in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude; and, in 2010, the BP-owned Deepwater Horizon rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in a huge oil spill that threatened the entire Gulf Coast. Six years later, BP is still struggling to recover from a huge hit to its finances and reputation.

.. The “Beyond Petroleum” fiasco proved that you can’t deny who you are.

.. If he’s looking for guidance from the corporate world, Trump could do worse than reading up on the recent history of McDonald’s

.. It was all partly a con, of course. As McDonald’s broadened its menu choices, it still sold huge amounts of unhealthy fried food.

.. McDonald’s turnaround came “not from greater sales of healthy foods but from selling more fast-food basics, like double cheeseburgers and fried chicken sandwiches

.. McDonald’s rebranding was effective because it challenged perceptions of the company without undermining its core value proposition: cheapness and convenience

.. Given how central immigration has been to Trump’s campaign, announcing a more humane approach toward the undocumented could send a forceful signal that he is willing to compromise

.. He’d also need to do some damage control with his base, of course. If he does change tack on deportations, he could also make clear that he still intends to build a wall across the southern border, and to make it much harder for foreigners from other parts of the world, particularly Muslims

.. Kellyanne Conway, the veteran Republican polling expert he brought on as his campaign manager, is reportedly pushing for a U-turn on immigration, and so is Chris Christie.

.. Is he in it to win? Or is his real goal to build up the Trump brand among conservatives and ultra-conservatives, perhaps with the ultimate ambition of launching a media venture?

.. If winning is a secondary concern, it might make more sense to stick with his existing policy and preserve his image as a conservative renegade.