Domino's Pizza's 'tone-deaf' Karen promotion pulled after online backlash

Domino's pizza chain is under fire for its latest promotion.
Domino's pizza chain is under fire for its latest promotion. Photo credit: File

Domino's has removed a promotion giving away free pizzas to people named Karen after backlash online.

The pizza chain launched the giveaway on their Facebook page on Tuesday for all of the "nice Karens" after the name was picked up by online meme culture and used to describe a white woman who abuses her privilege at the expense of others.

"In 2020, 'Karen' is no longer content to speak to the manager. Now, she's dobbing in her neighbours, refusing to quarantine, or just being difficult," said Domino's chief marketing officer Allan Collins on Tuesday.

"Consequently, the name 'Karen' has become synonymous with anyone who is entitled, selfish and likes to complain. What used to be a light-hearted meme has become quite the insult to anyone actually named Karen.

"Well, today we're taking the name Karen back. At Domino's, we're all about bringing people together and we want to celebrate all the great Karen’s out there by shouting them a free pizza!"

But the promotion has been slammed as tone-deaf by social media users who said there are many other more deserving people who could use the food.

"Why not give pizza to those in need, those who can't afford to eat breakfast or lunch or dinner. What about those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19? I am sure Karen will be ok," one commenter wrote.

"Really Domino's? There are so many more deserving groups and communities that you could be helping out but you choose to do a campaign for one of the more privileged groups of society?" another said.

On Wednesday afternoon Domino's admitted they had got it wrong with the promotion and had removed it from their Facebook page.

"We wanted to bring a smile to customers who are doing the right thing - Karen the nurse, Karen the teacher, Karen the mum," a spokesperson told Newshub.

"In New Zealand, because it lacked this important context, people interpreted this in a different way than we intended. We appreciate how this has happened and have listened – we’ve removed this post.

"Our intention was one of inclusivity only. Our pizza brings people together and we only had this at the heart of the giveaway.  We want you to know that we are always listening and learning and when we get it wrong, we fix it."