Pizza Hut Malaysia apologises for anti-transgender tweet

Pizza Hut Malaysia says it has fired its social media agency over an anti-transgender tweet.

The Malaysian arm of the global pizza brand had posted a message in response to a Malay-language Twitter discussion about transgender people.

The message mocked supporters of trans inclusivity and inferred that transgender people were unworthy of absolution.

After anger from customers, the message was abruptly deleted.

Subsequent statement from Pizza Hut Malaysia suggest the social media manager who sent it had intended the message for their personal account.

Pizza Hut Malaysia wrote: “We sincerely apologise for our earlier (now deleted) tweet with inappropriate comments regarding sexuality and religion. We want to clarify: Pizza Hut does not condone any such views and as policy, do not involve ourselves in matters of religion or sexuality.

“The tweet was made erroneously by our social media agency. While we understand that human errors do happen, we also take matters of these nature very seriously and as such have terminated the services of our agency.

“We wish to apologise once again if anyone was offended and get back on track serving our customers as best we can.”

It has not named the agency responsible.

Chief Marketing Officer of Pizza Hut Malaysia Jean Ler told Malay Mail: “We don’t think that we should [reveal their name] because terminating the services of the social media agency is already quite a serious thing, and it’s also a serious thing for the agency.

“We shouldn’t put them in public in that kind of position.”

The marketing manager added: “The statement was clear in saying that we apologise for what has happened and clarified that we are never in the position to involve ourselves in any of these topics.

“We don’t have any views on any of this, whether it’s religion, sexuality, race, or gender. Everyone has their own views but our position, as a policy, is to not be involved in any of this.

“We do have training in place to remind our staff that whatever their personal views are, it’s their personal opinion only.

“Pizza Hut has always had a mission to serve every customer the best pizza, and of course, pizza is for everyone to enjoy.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia, and the country has taken a hardline shift against the LGBT community over the past few years.

A Human Rights Watch report from 2015 said that discrimination against members of the community was “pervasive”.

Transgender people in Malaysia can face arbitrary arrest, physical and sexual assault, imprisonment, denial of healthcare and employment and other abuses.

A challenge to a legal ban on “cross-dressing” was defeated in 2015 by Malaysia’s highest court.