Pizza Hut is feeling the heat after one of its adverts mocked Palestinian hunger striker Marwan Barghouti. The hashtag #Boycott_PizzaHut is being used online to vent frustration at the restaurant chain.
A since-deleted tweet posted to an Israeli Pizza Hut account read: “Barghouti, if you’re going to break a strike, why not pizza?” It appeared along with a doctored image of Barghouti’s cell with a slice of pizza and a Pizza Hut box visible.
The hunger striker, who is leading around 1,300 prisoners on a hunger strike against conditions in Israeli prisons, was purportedly filmed by prison services eating in his cell. His wife claimed the footage was “fake” and designed to “break the morale of prisoners,” reported AFP.
Pizza Hut was quick to apologize for the ad, claiming their relationship with the agency responsible had been terminated.
A representative for Grass Pink, the Israeli advertising agency responsible for the advertisement, said they “didn’t mean to offend anybody.”
The apology wasn’t enough to calm the outrage online, however, with #Boycott_PizzaHut trending as a result. One user asked it to apologize with actions not words and close its branches in “illegal Israeli settlements.”
Another tweet read:“BDS says hi!” It was referencing the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, aiming to pressurize Israel to improve its relations with Palestine.
The striking prisoners are demanding improved conditions including visits, medical treatment and education. Last month Barghouti told The New York Times that the hunger strike sought to put an end to “torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and medical negligence,” in Israeli prisons.
Barghouti, who was sentenced to five life sentences for five murders, plus 40 years for attempted murder, said “Israel’s courts are a charade of justice, clearly instruments of colonial, military occupation,” while Israeli prisons have become “the cradle of a lasting movement for Palestinian self-determination.”