Wetherspoons has been forced to deny claims it banned its staff from wearing poppies after a social media hoax sparked a tide of anger from customers.
The pub chain faced a barrage of criticism online after a parody Wetherspoons account tweeted that its employees would not be wearing Remembrance Day poppies this year due to the “ever expanding multiculturalism of our clientele”.
Furious clientele threatened to boycott Wetherspoons – which has almost 1,000 pubs across the UK – over the fake tweet, with some slamming the company as “disgraceful”.
“If I worked in one of your pubs, I would quit on principle,” one woman wrote.
Another replied: “So wrong… your pubs are in the UK. In the UK we respect those that have fallen fighting for this country – where YOU trade.”
The antagonistic tweet was sent by hoax account WETHERSP00N_UK, which has 25,500 followers on Twitter.
While it is sign-posted in the account’s description that it is a parody, many took the message at face value.
In a strongly-worded statement, Wetherspoons said that the fake account had “crossed a line with its distasteful and insensitive tweet” about poppies.
“JD Wetherspoon is in no way connected with this Twitter account and neither shares nor condones its posts,” it read.
“In our opinion, although the unofficial spoof account is stated to be a parody account, tweets like this are simply not funny.”