Fast-food chain Pizza Hut is facing backlash and boycotts after reports surfaced that the chain provided free meals to Israeli soldiers. The controversy began when Pizza Hut Israel reposted an Instagram story from user @alex_shults, featuring two soldiers holding stacks of Pizza Hut pizza boxes. While the story has since expired, Palestinian news agencies were quick to reshare screenshots, sparking calls for a boycott of the chain’s products.
This is not the first time Pizza Hut Israel has faced such criticism. In 2017, the chain received backlash for an advertisement that appeared to mock Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike. The ad, which featured a photoshopped image of a prisoner eating Pizza Hut pizza, was met with outrage and calls to boycott the brand.
Advocacy groups, led by the BDS movement, have also been calling for boycotts of other companies perceived to support Israel. Starbucks, for example, faced protests and boycotts from union members after the company sued over social media posts supporting the Palestinian people that were shared on a union account.
Israeli soldiers expressing gratitude to Pizza Hut franchises in Israel for providing free meals to military bases. pic.twitter.com/kTYp1I7hNW
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) January 19, 2024
Pizza Hut has yet to publicly address the current boycotts or confirm whether they provided free meals to Israeli soldiers. In the case of the 2017 ad, Pizza Hut deleted it, issued an apology, and reportedly fired the PR firm responsible.
These controversies have not only sparked outrage but also raised questions about where the line should be drawn when it comes to corporations supporting political causes. Some argue that companies should remain neutral and not take a stance on political issues, while others argue that businesses have a responsibility to use their platform for social good.
— Rebel With(out) a Cause (@ramchrisali) January 20, 2024
While Pizza Hut has not taken a public stance on the current boycotts, it’s clear that the brand is facing pressure from both sides of the issue. On one hand, supporters of Palestinian rights are calling for a boycott of the chain’s products, while on the other hand, some may view the chain’s actions as a show of support for the Israeli military.
Pizza Hut in Israel is facing a backlash for providing free pizzas to courageous IDF soldiers by pro-hamASS lunatics who are calling for a boycott. Please support #PizzaHut. #buypizzahutandStarbucks pic.twitter.com/H1HuMj8TeT
— TXtwinmama 🟦 I Stand w/Israel🇮🇱Bring Them Home (@Txtwinmama) January 26, 2024