Twitter is a place for complex debates about important topics. It's also a place for brands to shamelessly self-promote. On Monday, these two functions collided in a terrible way.
DiGiorno Pizza, in a bafflingly tone-deaf tweet, used the hashtag "#WhyIStayed" to suggest that you might "stay" somewhere for pizza. Carelessly, it didn't notice that the hashtag is currently being used for people to hold a conversation about domestic violence and share stories of surviving abuse, in the wake of a new video showing NFL star Ray Rice's vicious attack on his then-fiancee Janay Palmer.
The social-media team at DiGiorno apparently saw #WhyIStayed trending and figured it would be a good time to plug for frozen pizza, without checking the hashtag's meaning. Whoops.
On Monday, writer Beverly Gooden created the hashtag #WhyIStayed to have a discussion about the complexities of domestic violence, after the video leak of Rice's brutal attack sparked a national conversation on the topic. One in four women in America will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
DiGiorno apologized for its error and immediately deleted the tweet, claiming total ignorance of the hashtag's meaning.
"This tweet was a mistake, quickly realized as such and deleted seconds later," Roz O'Hearn, a spokeswoman for Nestle, which owns DiGiorno, said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "Our community manager -- and the entire DiGiorno team -- is truly sorry. The tweet does not reflect our values and we’ve been personally responding to everyone who has engaged with us on social media. We apologize."
The brand is also apologizing to everybody it can on Twitter, offering personal apologies to users who tweeted their outrage at the pizza-maker.
You can check out a compilation of insightful, brand-free tweets about #WhyIStayed here.