Little Caesars hands customer pizza with pepperoni swastika made as 'insensitive joke'

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Monday, June 29, 2020
Little Caesars hands customer pizza with pepperoni swastika made as 'insensitive joke'
In a statement, the Little Caesars franchise owner apologized for the "insensitive joke between employees."

BROOK PARK, Ohio (WTVD) -- An Ohio couple was shocked to find a message of hate designed in pepperoni on their pizza dinner.

Jason Laska said he picked up a pepperoni pizza from Little Caesars in his Brook Park neighborhood on Saturday night while running errands for his wife. But when he got home, his wife Misty noticed a backwards swastika laid out in pepperoni slices on the pie.

"I look at it with my head back a little and I'm like, 'Oh my God!'" Misty Laska told Cleveland ABC-affiliate WEWS.

Jason Laska said he was contacted both by Little Caesars' corporate office and the owner of their neighborhood franchise, who apologized for the "insensitive joke between employees."

"That's why it was not cut or anything like that," Jason Laska said. "They made it as a joke and it was never intended to go out to a customer."

However, the couple felt that the gesture--even if meant to be a private joke--was unacceptable in a workplace.

"Even in a joking manner, it's absolutely unacceptable," Jason Laska added.

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Jill Proctor, a spokesperson for Little Caesars, sent a statement to WEWS, confirming the employees responsible were fired.

"We have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in any form, and these franchise store employees were immediately terminated. We're deeply disappointed that this happened, as this conduct is completely against our values," Proctor told WEWS. "We have also reached out to the customer to discuss this personally with him."

Still, Misty Laska said firing the employees was not enough, and she hoped they've learned a lesson about hate.

"What repercussions are they getting from that?" she told WEWS. "Just termination--when they can go right down the street and find another job?"

The Laskas hoped that by sharing their experience, they can encourage people to learn the history and symbolism behind the Nazi emblem.

"These are the kinds of things that are continuing to fuel the hate and the confusion that exists in the country and in the world," Jason Laska said.

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