The AOH wasted no time in taking action against Denny’s restaurant for running a television advertisement which announced that in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Irish Famine, they would be offering unlimited pancakes for customers.
Infuriated members mobilized as President Boyle took swift action against Denny’s and sent a letter Denny’s explaining that the “Famine” was actually a starvation of the Irish people and more than a million and a half of our ancestors died because of it. He went onto to say “You have the audacity to make fun of these people who died of starvation much worse than any genocide ever recorded in history, so that you can sell your product on the back of our dead ancestors. I have already contacted our members throughout the United States where Denny’s has a franchise to be ready to mobilize when needed. I am appalled at your advertisement as are all Irish and Irish Americans. We are not the only Irish American organization in the United States who are ready to let you know how we feel about our ancestors defamation so you can sell a product and make a profit.“
AOH members from around the country inundated a call center at Denny’s headquarters as e-mails and letters were written and many Facebook pages were setup protesting this despicable marketing ploy. In the Philadelphia area AOH members were poised to picket their restaurants if the ad was not pulled from television.
Denny’s has been in hot water before for discriminatory treatment of African American customers and staff. Some questions if their next advertisement might feature Denny’s offering pancakes in celebration of the end of the Holocaust and the deaths of six million Jews? An often critic of the AOH, Irish Voice Newspaper publisher Niall O’Dowd, publically praised our organization stating “I am delighted to see that the Ancient Order of Hibernians has rushed out a statement condemning this incredibly insensitive and hostile ad which has been shown all over America in the past few days.”
Denny’s said it was sorry if a mention of the Irish Potato Famine in its advertisements offended anyone.
Management said the restaurant chain based in Spartanburg, SC, apologizes to anyone who was insulted or offended by the TV advertisement, which promoted an all-you-can-eat deal by tying it to the 150th anniversary of the end of the potato famine. “It is certainly not the intention of the company to offend anyone or any group, and we apologize if this spot has in any way,” Denny’s management said in a statement. The advertisement was pulled within less than a week of its original airing amid numerous complaints and protest threats from the AOH and other Irish-Americans.