A London cafe sparked outrage by selling bottles of swastika-labelled smoothie drinks.
The Nincomsoup cafe in Old Street Tube Station in central London was selling an almond-based smoothie called “Nutzy” bearing the Nazi emblem.
A horrified Jewish member of the public, whose family were killed in the Holocaust, spoke with the management, who refused to apologize. She contacted the Campaign Against Antisemitism and alerted them to the pro-Nazi product.
The customer told the charity that she noticed the drink on November 16 and immediately asked to see the manager. When she asked him about it he told her that it was a Hindu symbol of health and prosperity. However the Hindu symbol is the inverse of the swastika which was on the bottle. “When I asked about the name of the drink, he said it was a play on ‘having the nuts,’ meaning ‘having the courage’ and was a pun as the drink contains nuts,” she said.
The customer told him that she had lost family to the Nazi regime and she found it extremely offensive. The manager replied that “London is a free city.”
“I left the shop almost in tears and shivering as it proved to me how much anti-Semitism and fascism is still utterly present,” the woman said. “That man had no shame whatsoever to tell me that I should not be offended by what I saw, when the use of the swastika and the name of that drink is clearly not a coincidence.”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism complained to the cafe’s landlords, Transport for London, and the product was subsequently rebranded with an image of a waving Pope.
Ben Page-Phillips, the founder of Nincomsoup, issued an apology on the cafe’s website on Sunday which read:
“Sadly, an employee deemed it appropriate to put a Swastika on a smoothie named The Nutzy. This was unsanctioned and the bottles were removed immediately upon being alerted by our shop manager. Needless to say the rogue employee has been dismissed. This was incomprehensible, extremely insensitive, and upsetting to all of us. We unreservedly apologise.”
Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Karen Pollock, said: “This ‘branding’ attached to this soft drink is offensive – it demonstrates at best, a lack of sensitivity and at worst, complete disrespect for the millions murdered during the Holocaust,” the Sun newspaper reported.
John Mann, a Labour MP who heads an all-party group against anti-Semitism, said: “We fought a long war to stop the Swastika flying in Britain and it needs quickly removing from the shelves of this cafe. I suggest environmental health officers do a spot check on the hygiene of the cafe to see if there are any other nasties lurking.”
Stephen Silverman, director of investigations and enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “It beggars belief that this shop created a Nazi-branded drink by unwitting coincidence. The Nazis murdered six million Jewish men, women and children during the Second World War as well as almost half a million people from Britain alone in the most devastating war and genocide ever committed. It was unavoidable that this would be immensely offensive to Jewish people and anyone who lost members of their family to Nazi brutality.”