Pizza Hut has become the latest brand to apologise over a reader offer that appeared in a national newspaper.
The restaurant chain offered Sun on Sunday readers the chance to win a free pizza, but even before the offer had appeared in print the company had apologised for it on Twitter.
A few hours after publicising the offer on social media on Saturday, the official Pizza Hit Delivery UK account said: “We apologise for any offence caused as a result of this partnership.
“The aim of this offer was simply to give our customers the chance to enjoy a free pizza to share with their family and friends.”
Pizza Hut’s Facebook account received 2,929 comments in response to the offer, which runs until Thursday.
One user said: “Sorry Pizza Hut, you just lost another customer. Disappointed you would sell your soul to that immoral, hate spreading excuse of a rag for a quick buck.”
It had also been targeted by campaign group Stop Funding Hate.
Hi @PizzaHutDeliver – we understand that you need to run promotions, but did you know that the Sun had been called out for "hate speech" by the United Nations? https://t.co/JZsqPBPGfE https://t.co/iZCUPrO1BT
— Stop Funding Hate (@StopFundingHate) December 2, 2017
Pizza Hut’s apology comes two weeks after stationery store Paperchase said sorry for a reader offer that appeared in the Daily Mail.
In September, Evans Cycles blacklisted the Daily Mail, Express and Sun titles as advertisers – apparently in response to being sent a 15-year-old cutting from the Mail on Sunday.
Society of Editors executive director Ian Murray said: “Obviously, advertisers can decide where they wish to spend their money and which publications they wish to support, but what we are seeing here are what appear to be concerted, organised campaigns against just some newspapers by pressure groups.
“In a free society it is imperative that voices are heard from across the political spectrum. By attacking advertisers who support just one side of the debate in an attempt to force publications out of business is dangerous for free speech and democracy.”
A Sun source said: “I think they were just trying to acknowledge that there were a small group of voices on twitter who weren’t happy, but ultimately in light of recent events their quite mildly phrased tweet has become a bigger deal than they probably intended.
“We’re quite clear though that this is no ‘Paperchase’ moment.”
A Sun spokesperson said: “Frankly it’s a remarkably good deal, and I’m sure plenty of our readers will be taking up the offer of a free pizza between here and Thursday.”
Press Gazette has contacted Pizza Hut for comment.