BROOK PARK, Ohio — An Ohio couple say they were shocked and disappointed when they opened their ready-made pizza to see pepperonis arranged in the shape of a reverse swastika Saturday.
“Things like this are keeping hate alive in this world,” Jason Laska told CNN. “We all need the exact opposite of that right now.”
Laska said he was on his way home from his mother-in-law’s house when he stopped to pick up dinner for his family. He says he grabbed a “hot and ready pizza” from the warmer at Little Caesars in Brook Park, Ohio, about 14 miles south of Cleveland.
He got home, ready to dig in when the couple opened the box and say they found the symbol on their pizza.
“We were literally silent for a few moments,” Laska said. “Misty (his wife) asked me if I had ordered it and they had to make it and they gave me that on purpose thinking they were targeting me because they stereotyped me or something.”
Laska said he tried to call the store prior to 10 p.m., close to closing time, but says their line was busy.
“That’s when we posted to social media, wanting to express our anger and show our family and friends what kind of place it (Little Caesars) was.”
Two employees admitted responsibility and were immediately terminated, Jill Proctor, a Little Caesar Enterprises spokeswoman, told CNN in a statement Monday.
“We have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in any form,” Proctor said. “We’re deeply disappointed that this happened, as this conduct is completely against our values. We have also reached out to the customer to discuss this personally with him.”
While he says he’s glad Little Caesars reached out to him and acknowledged the wrongdoing by taking swift action, Laska said he isn’t entirely satisfied, but hopes the former employees learned a valuable lesson through the ordeal.
“This is an example of what needs to change in our world,” he said, “And we hope that people start to realize that and use their time to make those changes and not blast us for trying to do it.”