The Cheesecake Shop has apologised for a tasteless joke where they made light of the pie attack on Qantas boss Alan Joyce by promoting their own products and suggesting he eat some "humble pie".
Joyce was attacked while giving a speech in Perth earlier this week, with a man walking up behind him on stage and smashing a lemon meringue pie into his face. The man said the attack was due to Joyce's vocal support for marriage equality, calling it "inevitable pushback" to his views.
"Alan Joyce is a very active individual in this process [towards marriage equality] and in that context he was appropriate [to target]," Overheu said, according to the ABC.
"When the community is grumpy, figures who are overstepping the line have got to anticipate there will be pushback in some shape or form.
The man has since been charged with common assault, damage and trespass. On Thursday, bakery chain the Cheesecake Shop posted a pretty tasteless open letter to Joyce -- which they shared online, including their Facebook page -- making light of the situation. The company's letter spruiked its own line of pies.
"Now you've had a small taste of our traditional favourite featuring a rich and tangy lemon base crowned with super soft sweet meringue and valued at $26.95, we invite you to visit any one of our 203 stores and sample one at your leisure," the letter read.
"We would also be happy to offer you the chance to savour any of our other baked in store cakes including tortes, mudcake, pavlovas, cheesecakes and perhaps a generous serve of humble pie."
The backlash to the attempted joke was nearly immediate. The original post on Facebook attracted around 200 comments, with most criticising the Cheesecake Shop's decision to post the letter.
"A gay man being hit in the face with a pie by a Christian extremist is not an opportunity for a marketing stunt, unless you want to affirm your support for marriage equality, which seems to be absent from your letter," wrote one man.
"LGBTI people experience much higher rates of depression and suicide because of the bullying and discrimination they face. We need bystanders to stand up to bullies, not egg them on."
Others also joined the criticism.
"The perpetrator of that assault (because that's what it is) has openly stated that it was a protest against marriage equality. Making a cheap joke out of that doesn't taste so sweet to me," said one.
"Why would this victim of an assault and a hate crime need to eat humble pie? You had a real chance to make a stand and you flippantly exploit this violation to sell cakes....I'm pretty sure you guys are the one's who should eat humble pie," wrote one woman.
"Care to explain why a man who had a pie smashed into his face for supporting the gay and Lesbian community needs to eat 'a generous serve of humble pie'?" asked another.
On Friday afternoon, it seemed it was the Cheesecake Shop eating humble pie of their own. The company posted another Facebook status apologising for the joke, and edited their original post with the same apology.
Oddly, however, as of publication time, the original joke itself -- which the company has now repeatedly apologised for -- remains on the Cheesecake Shop's Facebook page.
"On reflection, and judging by the reaction to The Cheesecake Shop's letter to Alan Joyce yesterday, we have shown a lack of sensitivity on this matter. We deeply apologise to all who were offended. Our letter should not have made light of this situation. Our sincerest apologies," the company wrote.
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