“It’s a tough time to be a Karen,” began the online ad in New Zealand.
Dominos New Zealand dropped its promotion offering free pizza to women named Karen after the American company received major backlash.
Recently, the name “Karen” has been used as a derogatory term for white women who are said to be abusing their privilege.
The pizza giant attempted to relieve some of the negative connotations of the name by firing up a giveaway asking “Karens” to write a 250-word essay about why they were “nice Karens,” per the BBC.
“It’s a tough time to be a Karen,” began the since-deleted promo. “Karen the nurse, Karen the teacher, Karen the mum, Karen the neighbour, — we’re all in this together, but a vocal minority have given the name ‘Karen’ a bad rap this year.”
meme’s dead folks, pack it up pic.twitter.com/OqraeLFMML
— Jess? (@BadCrippIe) July 28, 2020
“At Dominos, we know there’s plenty of Kiwis named Karen that aren’t, well, ‘Karens,'” the posting added before encouraging ‘Karens’ to fill out a form for free pizza.
A Domino’s chief marketing officer, Allan Collins, said in a related statement, “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,” he continued. “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 Karens out there by shouting them a free pizza!”
We are sorry. Throughout COVID-19 we’ve tried to bring a smile to customers faces, with our pizza and our social…
The criticism was swift online, as users claimed the promotion was tone-deaf.
“Most of the time ‘Karens’ are entitled privileged white women. If a few people actually called Karen can’t handle the meme of it they should try handling 400 years of oppression,” posted a follower.
Another shared, “Please Dominos, stop. Karens ask to speak to the manager and actively try to get low wage workers fired. Karens put people at risk by refusing to wear a mask. Karens don’t need your defense.”
CALLING ALL (MASK WEARING, LAW ABIDING) KARENS! ??
It’s a tough time to be a Karen.
At Domino’s, we know there’s plenty of Australians named Karen that aren’t, well, “Karens”.
If this is you, let us know here: https://t.co/5fKKpd2TXU
We may send some pizza your way! ?
— Domino's Australia (@Dominos_AU) July 28, 2020
However, Domino’s did find some support as a select few have argued using “Karen” as an insult reeks of sexism, racism and classism, according to The Washington Post.
“Those people critising this offer, (labelling Karen’s as the stereotype blonde, complaining, White privileged), maybe you’re the tone deaf ones. The whole point of this promotion was to break negativity and stereotype. Turns out you’re the racist bigots. Nice,” wrote one Twitter user.
Domino’s issued an apology via Facebook on Tuesday.
“We are sorry,” the statement read. “Throughout COVID-19 we’ve tried to bring a smile to customers faces, with our pizza and our social media. We wanted to bring a smile to customers who are doing the right thing — Karen the nurse, Karen the teacher, Karen the mum.”
Those people critising this offer, (labelling Karen’s as the stereotype blonde, complaining, White privileged), maybe you’re the tone deaf ones. The whole point of this promotion was to break negativity and stereotype. Turns out you’re the racist bigots. Nice.
— FireGoose ? ?? ?? ?? (@goose_fire) July 30, 2020
“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. We want you to know that we are always listening and learning and when we get it wrong, we fix it. We are sorry.”
Meanwhile, the promotion still exists on Domino’s Australia’s Facebook page, where it calls for “mask-wearing Karens” to submit a form for free pizza.