A Washington restaurant has apologized after using an ISIS meme to sell a burger
We've discussed a lot in recent posts the lengths restaurants will go to to get our attention on social media. It could be as selfless as banning the use of plastic straws in their stores or giving a baby born on your premises free food for life. Sometimes though, you can take brand loyalty a little too far, even if it was just a joke.
Quoted as "One of the most highly acclaimed and well known eateries in the nation, Z-Burger!" (albeit by themselves), a DC burger chain is in hot water after a wild tweet juxtaposing an image of late American journalist James Foley with an image of a hamburger. Foley was beheaded by ISIS in Syria in 2014.
In pretty bad taste, right? At least find a high res image so we can see your sh*tty tweet. The since-deleted post promoting the restaurant Z-Burger read: "When you say you want a burger and someone says okay lets hit McDonalds." Attached was a photo of Foley moments before he was beheaded by ISIS, along with the words "you disgrace me" underneath.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Z-Burger owner Peter Tabibian tells the magazine that an outside company, Valor Media, based in North Carolina, was hired to handle all of the chain’s social media and was responsible for the tweet.
He also tweeted a screenshotted note saying: "I find it necessary to personally emphasize to our customers and friends that Z burger does not permit the use of offensive language, photographs, or video content on our Twitter page, or in any media. I have taken immediate steps to ensure that this never happens again and out customers have my promise to ensure that established controls over the placement of amateur promotional posts on our Twitter page are more closely followed, immediately."
"Z-burger takes great pride in our diversity of employees, customer service and our food offerings. We support the DMV in many ways, and hope that our loyal customers can overlook an error in judgement by a contracted marketing agent, who failed to direct planned, non-professional ad content to my attention, before posting it. Please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com"
Michael Valor, founder, etc. of Valor Media, issued an intense three-part apology on Twitter attempting to explain what happened (part one is embedded above). "I’m not some malicious, mean, ISIS sympathizer, you know?" said the 23-year-old CEO. "It’s so crazy to me. I eat at Starbucks. You know what I’m saying? I’m going to Starbucks after this. I’m not a bad person and I’ve never hurt anybody, and I don’t want this to go on to the Valor name."
As you can imagine, people were unimpressed. Valor said the employee who created the tweet had never heard of Foley, and thought the image was from a movie. Valor also admitted the ad was not reviewed before it went live.
James Foley's mother Diane tweeted: "I look forward to hearing an apology from Peter Tabibian and Michael Valor and their promised donation to the foundation #inspiring moral courage." If that's where things can be left at, everyone can leave this issue somewhat at peace.