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Consumer boycotts are targeting Pizza Hut following reports that the chain offered free meals to soldiers stationed at Israeli military bases.
On January 19, Pizza Hut Israel shared an Instagram story from user @alex_shults, featuring two smiling soldiers holding stacks of Pizza Hut pizza boxes, suggesting that the chain had provided free meals to the military personnel.
Palestinian news agencies, including the Quds News Network, circulated screenshots of the posts on platforms like Instagram and Twitter (formerly known as X), leading advocates for Palestinian rights to call for a boycott of Pizza Hut products.
Israeli soldiers expressing gratitude to Pizza Hut franchises in Israel for providing free meals to military bases. pic.twitter.com/kTYp1I7hNW
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) January 19, 2024
This incident adds to a trend where advocacy groups have been urging boycotts against brands perceived to support Israel, such as Starbucks. Starbucks faced protests and boycotts from union members after the company took legal action against social media posts expressing support for the Palestinian people on a union account.
As of now, Pizza Hut has not publicly addressed or confirmed the allegations of providing free pizzas to soldiers. It is noteworthy that Pizza Hut faced previous criticism in May 2017 when an advertisement from its Israeli branch surfaced online, seemingly mocking Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike. The ad featured a photoshopped image of a prisoner enjoying Pizza Hut pizza inside a cell.
In response to public outrage and the hashtag #boycott_pizzahut, Pizza Hut deleted the ad, issued an apology, and reportedly terminated its relationship with the PR firm responsible for creating the controversial advertisement.