A Manhattan pizzeria has apologized for–but refuses to stop serving–a blatantly racist pizza they have named the “Pic-A-Nika” pizza. The pizza features several toppings, including fried chicken and watermelon.
Pizza by Certé recently began to serve the controversial pizza topped with Southern fried chicken, sea-salted watermelon, arugula, goat cheese, ricotta, and bleu cheese on a sunflower seed crust. But the name of the pie and the ingredients soon set off an online backlash. Here’s a sampling of what has been posted on Twitter:
“Y’all want to stay permanently asleep in re: NYC racism. Latest ex: Pic a nika pizza w/ sea salted watermelon + fried chicken toppings. LOL.”
“Remember I tweeted that the word PICNIC comes from PICK-A-NI**ER?? Well @PizzaByCerte has a PIZZA to prove it!!”
Critics of the name have referenced an urban legend which claims the term “picnic” is derived from the act of lynching African-Americans. According to some, the word “picnic” comes from “Pick A N****r.”
Victor Guzman, manager of Pizza by Certé, insists the name of the pizza is a play on an exaggeration of how an Italian would pronounce the word “picnic.”
And on Facebook, this apology was issued on behalf of Pizza by Certé:
“To the people of New York City and to those who were offended by the sign. And specifically and especially to the Black Community, we are (gravely,deeply, truly) sorry. When we named the pizza “Pic-a-Nika” we disrespected an entire community, perpetuated a hurtful ideology and brought embarrassment to ourselves. In a time and climate when words carry so much change, we chose beyond poorly and cannot erase or ignore the damaging effects it has caused. It’s tough to think that we did something so HURTFUL. We made a shameful mistake. Once again, we are sorry.”
How sorry are they? Well, they have renamed the pizza “Picnic Pizza,” but it’s selling so well that they have so far refused to stop serving it in the restaurant.
If you’d like to let the folks at Pizza by Certé know how you feel about their newest pizza, feel free to drop them a line on their Facebook page.