CINCINNATI - A family in suburban Cincinnati found a shocking mistake on a box of cereal created for Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. An 800 number provided for a charity directed them to a sex hotline.
The number printed on the box of "Ochocinc'O's" supposedly sends callers to charity "Feed The Children." Instead, callers hear a sultry voice offering an adult conversation.
Tara Sand and her family, including her 9-year-old daughter, called 1-800-HELP-FTC on speakerphone.
"You do have to admit it is kind of funny. When we dialed it for the second time, I sat there and thought 'are you kidding me?' Nobody has found this yet?" said Sand.
The charity's number begins with 1-888, the adult line begins with 1-800.
Melissa Heher, the Vice President of PLB Sports said "Feed the Children" gave them the wrong number to print on the box and for now they will verify every phone number or web site they are given.
"It was not our intention to have that happen. Unfortunately for us, it did not work out for us... going to an adult site instead of the charity. We wanted to promote the charity," said Heher.
Director of Communication for "Feed the Children" Tony Sellars stated Thursday that “it’s an unfortunate mistake but it’s one we are taking steps to correct.”
The boxes were pulled from the shelves at Kroger grocery stores beginning Thursday morning. Heher said she's taking steps to find out if the bags of cereal can be donated to a foodbank or charity after the boxes are destroyed.
“We apologize to anybody who was offended by the message they may have heard on the incorrect phone number and we certainly don’t want this to overshadow the great work Chad Ochocinco and the cereal company are doing on behalf of feeding children and families worldwide," Sellars told 9 News.
Ochocinco helped launch the cereal on September 7 by autographing boxes for fans at the Kroger Store in Newport, Ky.
"Not only do I have my own cereal, but it's going to help a good cause I'm close to," Ochocinco said in early September.
PLB Sports, a Pittsburgh company that sells celebrity endorsed products, promotes the cereal as: "14 ounces of Low Fat, Honey Nut, Toasted Oats goodness."
PLB Sports released the following statement on Thursday:
Pittsburgh based PLB Sports would like to apologize for the printing of the incorrect Feed The Children toll free number on Ochocinco's Cereal boxes that are available in the Cincinnati market. PLB Sports Inc. will be immediately pulling the product from the Kroger shelves due to this mistake. The correct toll free number for Feed the Children is 1-888-HELP-FTC.
PLB Sports Inc. will be reprinting the Ochocinco's cereal boxes with the correct toll free number.
"We don't need anything to give our Bengals a bad name, especially Chad," said Sand. "He's obviously trying to do something great by doing this [for] 'Feed The Children.' "
Sellars also told 9 News "Feed the Children" has seen "a significant increase" in donations since the discovery.
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