Colorado Pizzeria draws social media fire after 'Sorry about Smallpox' pizza ad

Social media image: Twitter Qasim Rashid, Esq.

Vincent Schilling

A pizzeria in Colorado apologizes for an ad in which a settler offers Native Americans a slice of pepperoni pizza

A Colorado-based Right Coast Pizza has drawn considerable social media fire for posting an ad making light of Native Americans who died from smallpox-infested blankets.

The advertisement, which appeared in last week's issue of Bandwagon Magazine, was photographed and posted to social media several times. The company has apologized for the ad and pulled it off of their social media accounts.

The ad, in which a woman settler is seen holding a pizza, says to a Native American sitting on the ground, "Sorry about all the Smallpox ... Who wants a slice of pepperoni?"

Social media comments came quickly in response last Thursday.

One vocal opponent to the advertisement that resides in the region is the Northern Colorado Latino Foundation who's Board President, Joe Molina, made a public statement on their Facebook page.

"We are saddened by the privilege of Right Coast Pizza in turning the genocide of Native Americans into a very inappropriate display of derogatory humor. We ask that BandWagon Magazine publisher take this experience seriously..."

Shortly after the response on Facebook and Twitter, Bandwagon Magazine and Right Coast Pizza issued apologies on Facebook.

Right Coast Pizza wrote:

In response to our ad in Bandwagon Magazine:

The magazine creates ads for us every month and we give them artistic freedom when designing the content.

This was an oversight in our approval process for not recognizing the full impact this would have. Bandwagon and ourselves try to keep our ads edgy and by no means did we intend to offend anyone. We sincerely apologize for the lack of awareness on our part and for the insensitive design of the ad. This was a poor choice of words and we regret that something like this made it to print.

We are taking steps to remove any copies that we can and to review our ad approval policies. We hope you'll understand that this was an honest mistake and we are truly sorry to the Native American Community and anyone else this may have offended.

Sincerely, RCP

BandWagon Magazine apologized with the following statement:

We would like to sincerely apologize to anyone that was offended by one of our ads in the last issue of BandWagon Magazine. Those of you who responded so strongly to that ad are a part of the same community that we are, and your voices are valid. The ad is insensitive and both the magazine and our clients regret ever printing it. We think it’s eye-opening for everyone involved, which ultimately is a good thing. The creative team behind this advertisement went too far and both the client and our publisher deeply regret our lack of quality control in letting this go to print. We have removed the ad from our digital issue atwww.bandwagmag.comat this time and would once again like to extend our deepest apologies.

Right Coast Pizza owner Justin Vogel told the Greeley Tribune that he approved the ad in haste after having a second party advertising company create the ad. "It's totally my fault for not catching it."

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling


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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Unimaginable. the mentalities that discussed this ad in a group, drew it and someone "okayed" it! Smallpox was the first use in mankind's history of a chemical agent of terror used to slaughter in mass other humans. This egregious action committed by those that present themselves to the rest of the world to be ethical & moral. If this truth was taught in "American History", maybe ignorance & stupidity would not be so rampant.