Earlier this week, a tweet from parody account @Wetherspoon_UK said: “Due to the ever expanding multiculturalism of our clientele and employees this year our staff will not be wearing the poppy while working.”
It was retweeted almost 800 times, liked more than 900 times and prompted nearly 1,000 comments, raising widespread disgust and anger with some responses threatening to never enter a Wetherspoon pub again.
Wetherpoon’s official Twitter account @JDWtweet was forced to publicly deny the claims, repeatedly tweeting “we do support the Poppy Appeal in all of our pubs. Please ignore spoof sites” in response to angry comments.
One tweeter responded: “Well if this is the case, I would get some form of statement out there fast because this is spreading like wildfire.”
Spoof crosses the line
It seems that Wetherspoon’s PR agreed because a longer statement, also posted on Twitter, appeared saying: “Yet again the spoof Wetherspoon Twitter account @wetherspoon_UK has crossed the line with its distasteful and insensitive tweet about the wearing of poppies.
“JD Wetherspoon is in no way connected with this Twitter account and neither shares nor condones its posts. In our opinion, although the unofficial spoof account is stated to be a parody account, tweets like this are simply not funny #digitaltrolls.”
One tweeter responded to the statement with: “No but the inability of some of your customer base to spot satire is comedy gold.”
The parody account has been stoking further reaction to its initial tweet using #poppygate to highlight and mock some of the most irate comments.