Bad taste: restaurant slammed for 'Death Row' theme
A pop-up restaurant scheduled to open in trendy Hoxton Square now looks unlikely to get off the ground after a furious campaign on social media.
Death Row Dinners was due to open next month, charging £50 a head for a five-course meal based on the last requests of Death Row inmates. Its initial publicity used pictures of Death Row inmates holding up the menu for their last meal.
"If you love food, then at some point in your life you will have discussed the age-old question 'What would your last meal be?' and Death Row Dinners goes some way to answering that," say its organisers.
"For a short time only in beautiful Hoxton you can enjoy the idea of the last meal, without the nasty execution bit."
But when the organisers started publicising the restaurant, there was instant outrage on Twitter.
@DeathRowDinners They are real terrified people waiting to die in the pictures you use to sell your product. Please close.- Ed Boxall (@Edboxall) September 17, 2014
I wonder if @DeathRowDinners know the excruciating pain people go through when executed? Making money off of the deceased = sick.- | Tattooed Tealady | (@TattooedTeaLady) September 17, 2014
Love food. Love pop-ups. But @DeathRowDinners has seriously creeped me out! Food should be about life not death!- Ella Marr (@EllaMarr) September 17, 2014
The organisers have now posted an apology on their website - although it stops short of cancelling the whole event.
"We're shocked and saddened by the response to Death Row Dinners and are genuinely very sorry for any offence caused. The pop up is intended to explore the concept of last meals; anyone who has ever been to a dinner party has probably had this conversation – what would they love their last meal to be," they say.
"In light of the response to the idea we are considering our next steps and will update everyone with our decision."
It's astonishing how often business owners fail to see just how offensive their bright idea might be. Earlier this year, bookmaker Paddy Power was hauled over the coals by the Advertising Standards Authority after offering to refund all losing bets if Oscar Pistorius was found not guilty of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
And back in 1995, the British Safety Council found itself on unsafe ground after issuing a leaflet featuring the Pope wearing a hard hat - and carrying the slogan "The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt always wear a condom".
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