Over the weekend, an Australian anti-masker and conspiracy theorist went the wrong kind of viral when she filmed herself berating the workers at a Bunnings Warehouse hardware store. The woman, who has since been identified as Kerry Nash, filmed employees as she accused them of "discriminating against [her], as a woman" by requiring masks in the store, and said that she would "have them sued" if they made her wear one.
Nash was arrested for her behavior (despite yelling at the officer that he didn't have the right to do that), and became known as #BunningsKaren on social media. Nash also became the latest example during a pandemic that has brought the Karens out in force, as (mostly) white women have been filmed being absolute ballbags to everyone from Starbucks baristas to supermarket employees to teenagers eating berries in a city park.
Whether despite the fact that #BunningsKaren trended in the Southern Hemisphere all weekend or because of it, the Australian and New Zealand divisions of Domino's Pizza decided that it was time to show their appreciation to the "nice" Karens, presumably the ones who can go out in public without spitting on a 16-year-old ice cream scooper, or those who don't go off on an essential worker when they politely ask her to cover her scream-hole. And with this "nice Karen" promotion, Domino's said that it would give free pizzas to at least 100 women named Karen who hadn't caused some kind of incident this summer.
"It's a tough time to be a Karen. Karen the nurse, Karen the teacher, Karen the mum, Karen the neighbour, Karen the mask wearer––we're all in this together, but a vocal minority who believe laws and rules don't abide to them have given the name 'Karen' a bad rap this year," the chain wrote. "At Domino's, we know there's plenty of Australians named Karen that aren't, well, 'Karens.'"
Domino's probably thought it was being clever and jumping on a #meme with the promotion, and it almost definitely didn't expect the almost immediate backlash that it received. "The whole idea around 'karen’s' [sic] is showing how these entitled privileged white women use their skin and status as power of others less fortunate than them," one person responded on Twitter. "[Now] they know that they can get their way just by being an 'attacked' white woman." Another added that the chain had "completely missed an opportunity" to help low-income families, the homeless community, or others who were "actually going through a tough time" because of the pandemic.
But presumably after scrolling through its mentions, Domino's New Zealand changed its mind on Thursday and has ended the promotion. "Our post came off the back of a number of situations in Victoria, Australia which received international media coverage, including in New Zealand. A person who decided they didn’t have to follow the mandate and wear a mask and took it out on retail workers; a person who breached a COVID-19 checkpoint, potentially endangering others; a person who was bored walking in her neighbourhood," it wrote on Facebook.
"These examples were widely known, and publicly commented on [including] Bunnings “Karen” [...] We wanted to bring a smile to customers who are doing the right thing... In New Zealand, because it lacked this important context, people interpreted this in a different way than we intended. We appreciate how this has happened and have listened—we’ve removed this post." (As of this writing, the "nice Karen" promo is still active through Domino's Australia.)
Although it's no longer accepting new entries, Domino's New Zealand still plans to pay up. In the Facebook comments, it said that it would be "reaching out shortly" to those who had already registered for a free pie. That's probably for the best—God knows somebody would ask to speak to a manager.