Marketing

The Cheesecake Shop forced to apologise over Facebook post about Alan Joyce being hit with pie

Dominic Powell /

Australian cake company The Cheesecake Shop has been forced to apologise for an open letter it posted on Facebook about a recent incident in which Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce had a pie shoved in his face.

Joyce was about to begin speaking at a business breakfast function in Perth on Tuesday when an audience member calmly walked to the podium and planted a large pie directly in Joyce’s face.

The man then walked off the stage and was later arrested, while Joyce returned to giving his address after cleaning pie residue from his suit.

The man, who reportedly attacked Joyce in protest of his support for marriage equality, was then charged with assault for the incident, reports The ABC.

Joyce was not perturbed by the attack, telling The Australian he intends to continue to publicly advocate marriage equality, saying the event will not “have the desired outcome”.

In what experts have referred to as a poor attempt at newsjacking, The Cheesecake Shop issued an open letter to Joyce yesterday, saying it was “somewhat concerned” the lemon meringue pie shoved in Joyce’s face “was not appreciated to its full sweetness”.

“Now you’ve had a small taste of our traditional favourite featuring a rich and tangy lemon base crowned with super soft sweet meringue and valued at $26.95, we invite you to visit any one of our 203 stores and sample one at your leisure,” the business said in the letter.

“We would also be happy to offer you the chance to savour any of our other baked in store cakes including tortes, mudcake, pavlovas, cheesecakes and perhaps a generous serve of humble pie.”

The pie that hit Joyce in the face was reportedly made at a Perth based Cheesecake Shop, and Huffington Post reports the company even sent Joyce a replacement pie.

However, the stunt backfired with customers, and Facebook users flocked to The Cheesecake Shop’s page to criticise the letter, labelling it “in poor taste”. Some called for a boycott of the business.

“Very poor taste (like most of your products!). Not cute or funny making light of bigotry, homophobia or assault. Eat your own humble pie when your brand is tarnished and sales drop!” said one commenter.


Less than 24 hours after sending the message, The Cheesecake Shop issued an apology via Facebook, saying it had shown “a lack of sensitivity on the matter”.

“We deeply apologise to all who were offended. Our letter should not have made light of this situation,” the post said.

Crisis communications expert Nicole Matejic told SmartCompany the letter was in “really bad taste” and a poor attempt at newsjacking.

“When you’re dealing with acts of violence, making fun of it in this way is borderline offensive. This is a very serious matter over a very serious issue,” she says.

“Newsjacking your way into a story like this is not appropriate, and the company has greatly misjudged their ability to do so.”

Matejic believes The Cheesecake Shop should be reviewing their marketing practices and what it believes to be appropriate.

“You can do newsjacking really well, and businesses should always look at the risk and broader issues before they newsjack into a contentious issue,” she says.

“Violence against anyone is no laughing matter.”

Qantas could not provide a comment when contacted by SmartCompany, and The Cheesecake Shop did not respond prior to publication.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is a journalist at SmartCompany and a tech and music geek. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading or browsing record shops.

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  • Bill

    Stick to your guns cheesecake shop. I am sick of people coming out and saying something then spend all the next day back tracking and apologising because someone else may have been offended.

    • Rohan Baker

      I’m offended that you’re offended that I’m offended. And we’ve lost our sense of humor. I’m offended at that too. Who do target with an online campaign of offensive SJW to offend those who are offended at humor?

      Our descent into Marxism is a barrel of laughs.

  • Neil Aitchison

    Here is the LGBTIQAP+ alphabet brigade feigning horror to blackmail another business into supporting their cause – there was nothing wrong with what the Cheesecake Shop said and in no way did it make light of the pieing of Joyce.

    Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas, has sabotaged Qantas to give his individual, personal opinions some credibility and clout that otherwise would be ignored. He is manipulating and engineering an artificial social working environment based solely on his person preference that is totalitarian by nature (ie. social activism) instead of letting the Australian culture change as the collective population steers culture harmoniously and naturally. Alan Joyce, and the other pro-SSM advocates, are blatantly lying to us about their motives and methods and treating us like fools to believe anything they says about the homosexual agenda – Mr Joyce knows that using (abusing) the airline gets huge public exposure to his views because Qantas has considerable contact with people as people fly on the planes – he gets to sprout his views as effectively as if owned a TV/media company.. Why the Qantas shareholders allow him to do this with their assets is anyone’s guess…..but he is not acting appropriately as a CEO and neither does his excuses justify his political agenda being thrust on us. His attempt to push the gay culture on us is backfiring as we see his fake concerns and excuses be exposed and his tricky, sly tactics of social engineering seen for what they are. The more he speaks out, the more damage he does to his cause and he drags the reputation of Qantas down further and further in the process. People like him have such big egos that they fail to see that their manipulative tactics are not working. You don’t see these companies refusing to trade with violently anti gay economies and nations. Will Qantas now refuse to service Islamic nations where being gay will get you killed? Will ANZ not invest in projects in places where being gay is not only illegal but will get you thrown off a building? No, they’ll just make life uncomfortable for their employees of a diff opinion in Aus. I know – how about these CEOs with their virtue signalling go and protest somewhere that may actually require them to take some risk – financially and physically – if it is so important. Why is “diversity” increasingly becoming the socially enforced sameness of thought, opinion and belief? It’s ironic that the LG campaigners seek to advance their cause by creating a new “religion” of social practice and acceptance. Also, all those claiming “majority” support – the majority doesn’t define what’s good and recent surveys (which most don’t pass the “conflict-of-interest” test) reveal this “support” is probably alot thinner than believed.

  • BlackJackShellac

    Facebook. Where the perpetually dim gather to swap selfies and Bible quotes.