By Imogen Crispe
Restaurant chain Velvet Burger has apologised today for an online advertisement referencing domestic abuse.
The ad, uploaded to Velvet Burger’s Facebook page, alluded to the 2008 domestic assault by pop star Chris Brown on his then-girlfriend, Rihanna.
It carried the slogan: ‘beatings by Chris Brown’, and encouraged users to visit their Fort St restaurant in Auckland and “smash” a burger.
The ad drew extensive criticism and was taken down after a few hours.
Velvet Burger co-founder James Arnott says the post was inappropriate and he wished to apologise to patrons.
“If we could send out our apologies for that. It was never meant to be insulting or anything,” he says.
Mr Arnott oversees the restaurant’s Facebook page but says the post “slipped through the cracks”.
“It doesn’t reflect in any way about Velvet Burger in general. It’s not something we would support.”
Several users visiting the page vowed never to eat at the chain again.
“What a bunch of losers. Smash this: never goin (sic) there again,” Kat Saunders posted.
“Congrats, you just lost my patronage,” Anna Loren said.
New Zealand domestic abuse charity Shine says the post was in poor taste.
“I feel really angry about it,” says Shine executive director Jane Drumm.
“In New Zealand and internationally there is an enormous problem with domestic abuse and it’s no laughing matter.”
This afternoon Velvet Burger replaced the post with an apology and a logo from the ‘It’s not ok!’ New Zealand anti-violence campaign.