McDonald’s Portugal took some heat after promoting an off-color strawberry sundae drenched in red syrup, called “Sundae Bloody Sundae.”
The name of the dessert is a play on words to the U2 song “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” but Mickey-D’s should have delved deeper into their research.
What the fast-food chain failed to recognize was that the band’s song referenced Bloody Sunday—the 1972 massacre in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland, when 28 unarmed civilians at a civil rights demonstration were shot by British soldiers.
Portugal is cancelled. pic.twitter.com/X1egoGRq9j
— MyLimes Na gCopaleen (@bigmonsterlove) October 30, 2019
When you've heard a phrase but don't really know what it means. https://t.co/2AghlvYgOy
— Nicholas Diable (@Defencebrief) October 31, 2019
The insensitive menu item set people off.
OH. MY. GOD. Who signed off on that? Who thought that was a good idea??? Bloody hell https://t.co/gmYlxRRlPM
— Kate Bevan ???????????? (@katebevan) October 31, 2019
oh great cheers lads https://t.co/BDThv3ks3T
— Séamas It Ever Was (@shockproofbeats) October 30, 2019
After facing much fallout, McDonald’s pulled the campaign by taking down all promotional material from their restaurants and issued a statement of apology.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, a McDonald’s spokesperson said the Portugal-specific campaign:
“was intended as a celebration of Halloween, not as an insensitive reference to any historical event or to upset or insult anyone in any way.”
“We sincerely apologize for any offense or distress this may have caused. All promotional material has been removed.”
McDonald’s apologizes for its Halloween-themed dessert called "Sundae Bloody Sundae," which references one of the deadliest episodes in the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland https://t.co/pMOAnkbgQf
— POLITICO Europe (@POLITICOEurope) October 31, 2019
On January 30, 1972, demonstrators participated in a march protesting against Operation Demetrius—the internment of 342 people suspected of being involved with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which was dedicated to Irish republicanism free from British rule.
— Gemma εïз (@MicroGem) November 1, 2019
Soft are we pic.twitter.com/RRPA6z40Pm
— Gemma εïз (@MicroGem) November 1, 2019
Thirteen protestors were killed instantly and a fourteenth died several months later from injuries after the tragic event.
It’s astounding how so many are uneducated about history. I mean, it isn’t like that event was hundreds of years ago. It happened in the 70’s.
— Patti Tatum (@pattitatum) October 31, 2019
Uninformed people rolled their eyes.
Considering the first thing I thought of was the u2 song, I was wondering how it needed an apology. XD
— BiggE_Spooks (@BiggE_Huggs) October 31, 2019
OMFG. How in the hell is this insensitive!!!??
— autismo (@Manuelbishh) November 1, 2019
Please , it’s a dessert.
— RP (@ChicoBonds) October 31, 2019
But this is a major historic detail McDonald’s missed.
It's hard to believe such a world wide business could be so insensitive and ignorant. An apology doesn't cut it. I'm surprised they haven't yet offered Black Friday chipped Fingers to celebrate the losses and suicides after the first great Wall Street market crash.
— HollieTheCard (@HollieTheCard) November 1, 2019
For those who don't know why it sparked outrage, and why learning the history of not just your own country is important. https://t.co/ROFYRXXzTY
— Peter V. Baikun (@PVBaikun) October 31, 2019
Ignorance is not bliss it is unacceptable in this case M!!
— Tudor Jones (@Tudmeister) November 1, 2019
For those who still didn’t “get it,” the oversight was compared to naming a campaign after 9/11.
Bloody Sunday (which the U2 song is about) was an event where the British army killed a lot of unarmed civilians in Northern Ireland. It would be like naming an ice cream after 9/11. I don't blame you for not knowing, but McDonalds definitely should have.
— Hasse Erbine (@Hasserbine) October 31, 2019
Can’t believe people are making a joke of a tragedy, if it was a reference to 9/11 they’d be raging, we always have to sympathise with the US but they’re too self absorbed to actually pay attention to the rest of the world
— geneggevieve (@Gen_Connolly) November 1, 2019
The first Bloody Sunday took place in November 1920 during the Irish War of Independence when members of the “Black and Tan” auxiliary division and Royal Irish Constabulary officers opened fire at a crowd gathered for a Gaelic football match in Croke Park as part of an operation led by the IRA.