New Zealand pizza chain offers mea culpa for sexual assault joke

Aug. 16, 2012

A rape crisis center in New Zealand has received a $10,000 donation from Hell Pizza as a mea culpa for making light of sexual assault during a Facebook promotion.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the company announced that the winner of its "Confessional" promotion was an entry from a man who confessed he put his penis in the mouth of a drunk man who was passed out.

Hell Pizza's social media fans expressed outrage at the decision to award an entry glorifying sexual assault.

After the backlash, Hell Pizza removed the original Facebook post and replaced it with a message explaining it as a "prank between mates."

The chain then offered a $10,000 donation to Wellington Rape Crisis, which has experienced significant budget cuts this year.

The company also announced it would match every donation made through the agency's fundraising page through the end of the month.

The center's manager said the donation would be accepted under the condition that Hell Pizza executives, managers and staff undergo sexual violence awareness and ethical bystander training.

Hell Pizza has been in the spotlight for controversy before. In late 2011, the company included the message "You will marry a transgender" as part of its "misfortune cookies" promotion.

In 2011, Hell Pizza put up a billboard that included an inverted pentacle symbol alongside the words: "For a limited time. A bit like Jesus."

Read more about marketing campaigns.

Topics: Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Online / Mobile / Social , Operations Management , Social Responsibility

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