What started as a Facebook joke about giving the mayor of Wichita a penis-shaped cake to protest police violence has taken on a life of its own and forced a local bakery to defend itself online.
W.O.W. Cakes spent Wednesday answering customer concerns after being Facebook "recommended" in response to an activist's request for help in finding a baker.
The bakery does make penis-shaped cakes. They're popular at bachelorette parties, said bakery owner Pam Roe.
But you have to ask for it and pick it up in person, she said.
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"These are not just dumped off randomly at people's places of business," she said.
And she said she wouldn't make a cake saying "(expletive) the police," a rap song title the activists wanted on the cake.
Roe has a degree in criminal justice and once worked as a sheriff's deputy in Colorado.
Making matters even worse was that the woman who recommended the bakery suggested they might spit in the cake if requested.
Roe said that's ridiculous. But she had to go on Facebook, post a denial message and track down the author to get the comment removed. She offered access to the store's security videos to prove it.
"Her funny little quip that she thought that she was adding blew up into being something that's so negative for us," Roe said. "Of course we do not spit in people's cakes, that's just ludicrous. But for customers to legitimately be messaging us asking that question, I was just like, 'This is out of hand.'"
A pair of local activists started the ball rolling on Facebook Wednesday: Michael Mihalakis, an activist known as Meko Haze online, and his friend and partner in activism, Mike Shatz.
They were initially joking, but their supporters liked the idea so well that it took off under the hashtag #PenisCake.
"Yeah, I mean the penis cake will probably happen," Mihalakis said in a text message interview with The Wichita Eagle.
Shatz said many police officers serve honorably but they are concerned that police have lobbyists who argue against laws holding officers accountable when they mistreat citizens.
Shatz said they'll probably try to deliver the cake to Mayor Jeff Longwell at his "Walk-A-Longwell" fitness-promotion event Saturday.
Longwell could not immediately be reached for comment.
The activists and the mayor have clashed since a December "swatting" incident in which a police officer responding to a hoax call shot and killed Andrew Finch, who was unarmed and innocent.