An Ohio family who ordered a pizza from Little Caesars on Saturday night was shocked when it opened the box to find the pepperonis fashioned into a swastika.
Two employees from the restaurant on Smith Road in Brook Park near Cleveland admitted their role in the incident and have been fired, according to 19 News, citing a statement from the company’s corporate office.
“We have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in any form, and these franchise store employees were immediately terminated,” according to the statement. “We’re deeply disappointed that this happened, as this conduct is completely against our values. We have also reached out to the customer to discuss this personally with him.”
Jason Laska stopped and got the “hot and ready” pizza Saturday night on his way home, he told 19 News, but waited until he got home to open the box. He and his wife, Misty, were appalled by what they saw next.
“We were literally silent for a few moments,” Laska told CNN. “Misty asked me if I had ordered it and they had to make it and they gave me that on purpose thinking they were targeting me because they stereotyped me or something.”
They called the restaurant but were unable to reach anyone.
That’s when they snapped a photo of the pie and shared it on social media.
The franchise owner of the location and the corporate office have since reached out to the Laskas and apologized, describing the incident as an insensitive joke among the staff.
“It’s not funny. It’s not funny,” Jason Laska told 19 News. “Especially with everything going on in the world right now.”
The crude hate symbol had been placed on the pizza backward, but its intent was clear, the couple said.
“Things like this are keeping hate alive in this world,” said Jason Laska, who later spoke to CNN. “We all need the exact opposite of that right now.”
Misty Laska agreed: “The point is, there should not be this kind of hate happening today. With the climate we’re in right now, why make a joke like that?”
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