Pizza Hut have apologised for “mocking” the Palestinian leader of a popular hunger strike in Israeli prisons.
The giant restaurant chain used a screenshot from footage released by the Israeli prison service last Sunday, which it claims shows Marwan Barghouti eating food in his cell.
Posted on Monday on the Pizza Hut Israel account, in Hebrew it reads “Barghouti, if you break the hunger strike, why not pizza?”
After Pizza Hut received a huge backlash for the post on social media, the restaurant issued an apology for the “completely inappropriate” message.
A Pizza Hut spokeswoman told AFP: “It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the values of our brand.
“The local franchisee in the country removed it. We truly regret any hurt this may have caused.”
Pizza Hut also posted an apology on its Facebook page, stating that their relationship “with the agency that posted it was terminated”.
Barghouti started campaign on 17 April and is leading more than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in a hunger strike, in protest against ill-treatment, medical neglect, restricting family visits and arbitrary imprisonment.
In the Facebook post which has now been taken down, a pizza box was photo-shopped into the photo, lying on the floor by Barghouti’s prison bunk bed.
The post went viral and sparked widespread criticism, with thousands calling for a boycott of the restaurant on social media.
The hashtag #Boycott_PizzaHut was trending on Twitter.
5Pillars contacted Pizza Hut for comment but failed to respond before the publication of this article.
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