The word was supposed to be an exaggerated play on the Italian pronunciation of the English word “picnic,” or at least that’s how the owners of Pizza by Certé in New York City say they saw it. But it wasn’t just the name (you have to say it out loud to really get the full effect); it was two of the seven toppings—Southern fried chicken and watermelon—that had many African Americans up in arms.
One customer alerted news station PIX 11 to the racist food quandary. “I went there today and there was a new pizza that they are selling called ‘pic-a-nika’ which sounded very horrible when I read it. It was when I read the description I knew that the name was in fact racist,” the reader wrote the station.
Several chimed in on social media, and on Friday the Manhattan restaurant posted an apology on its Facebook page.
“When we named the pizza ‘Pic-a-Nika’ we disrespected an entire community, perpetuated a hurtful ideology and brought embarrassment to ourselves,” the post reads. “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.”
The pizza has now been renamed the “picnic pizza.”
Read more at PIX 11.