Washington D.C. based burger chain Z-Burger, is under scrutiny after they tweeted a juxtaposed photo of the murdered American journalist, James Wright Foley, awaiting execution by ISIS in 2014 with an image of a hamburger. It read, "When you say you want a burger and someone says okay let's hit McDonalds." Below the image of Foley were the words "You disgrace me." The tweet has since been deleted.
James Wright Foley was a freelance photojournalist from New Hampshire. In January of 2012, he began to make trips to northern Syria to report on the events there. On November 22, 2012, Foley was kidnapped by ISIS and on August 19, 2014, he was horrifically beheaded. ISIS posted the video of his murder online.
The NY Daily News issued this haunting image showing the moment before his killing.
NY Daily News via Getty Images
This is the image that was exploited as a marketing ploy on Twitter by Z-Burger.
James Foley's Mother tweeted her response to the situation.
I am very saddened that @Zburger would be so insensitive and ignorant of others’ pain while marketing their hamburg… https://t.co/mWHvnOad2t— JamesFoleyFoundation (@JamesFoleyFoundation)1532473914.0
The restaurant's owner, Peter Tabibian, explained that fault lies with Valor Media, a group Z-Burger hired three months ago to handle their social media presence. Regardless, they apologized.
Michael Valor, the 23-year-old head of Valor Media, took full responsibility saying, "Z-burger had no part in the creation of this content or its release". Apparently, the company had recently hired a young art director who did not know who Foley was and therefore did not realize the magnitude of his choice.
He posted a three-part apology:
Part 1 : Valor Media Apology #DC #Washingtonian #news @washingtonian @willsommer https://t.co/ipU5yETLF8— Michael Valor (@Michael Valor)1532382366.0
Part 2: Valor Media Apology : @washingtonian @willsommer https://t.co/8pvYWK1j6b— Michael Valor (@Michael Valor)1532382447.0
Final : Valor Media Apology @washingtonian @willsommer 🔱 hope this helps shed some light . https://t.co/3xr3vJbOZY— Michael Valor (@Michael Valor)1532383046.0
As comforting as apologies are, some customers are not able to forgive either company for their tasteless error.
@zburger iPhone notes apology is maybe not the best look. #PR #reputation— dorothy crenshaw (@dorothy crenshaw)1532529293.0
@zburger I just wanted to mention that James Foley died in Syria, not Iraq, and do you or that pitiful excuse of a… https://t.co/pUGBUgKE99— Sandy (@Sandy)1532529071.0
@zburger Way to take responsibility by blaming someone else. It’s your fault for not checking the work before it’s release.— Blah_Blah 877201 (@Blah_Blah 877201)1532522204.0
@zburger "Peter"? This is only SLIGHTLY less cringe-worthy than that "apology" from the ferret on meth calling hims… https://t.co/dFQqO7folU— Adam Smithee (@Adam Smithee)1532513014.0
@ValorCorp @washingtonian @willsommer Let me break this down: humble brag, humble brag, justification, justificatio… https://t.co/PgHSKbtFCI— Cristine (@Cristine)1532498252.0
@ValorCorp @washingtonian @willsommer Ok. You don’t get spin this where it was actually a good thing b/c it drew aw… https://t.co/1JDfFIUZYN— Tera Marie Major (@Tera Marie Major)1532495657.0
@ValorCorp @washingtonian @willsommer Life lesson for you: Once you use "but" in an apology it negates the whole apology— AverageJoeMama (@AverageJoeMama)1532522379.0
@ValorCorp @zburger @washingtonian @willsommer This will go down as one of the biggest bullshit apologies ever. Som… https://t.co/FsGXcdEM8C— Jason Pittman (@Jason Pittman)1532499742.0
@ValorCorp @washingtonian @willsommer No one in their right mind would ever hire you to handle their content. So freaking shameful.— Dave Buscema (@Dave Buscema)1532502485.0