An Auckland BurgerFuel store has been criticised for its publicity stunt involving a white man dressed with a black face handing out fliers promoting a new Jamaican burger.
The Parnell store had a man painted brown handing out fliers promoting the new "Usain Poultry" burger for about an hour this morning.
Blackface is a form of makeup formerly used in minstrel shows and is controversial because it presents a stereotyped caricature of black people.
Social media users reacted to the promotion, with @alicehorsham posting on Twitter "Umm @BurgerFuel, do you have a guy in blackface handing out fliers to advertise a Jamaican themed burger?"
The Parnell BurgerFuel store manager declined to comment, but BurgerFuel's head office has apologised for the stunt.
"We have spoken to the store directly and pulled him in. We will be addressing this with NZ team. Immediately. Apologies," the company posted on Twitter.
BurgerFuel later added: "The store has gone rogue with the Jamaican theme without understanding the history."
BurgerFuel worldwide marketing manager Alexis Lam said the store employees "didn't really understand the implications and history of the costume''.
The stunt was not part of the national campaign promoting the burger, he said.
"As soon as we were made aware of it, we called the store and the staff member was changed out of costume immediately.
"We've discussed it with the staff and gave the employees involved a bit of a history lesson."
The company's apology had been well received, Lam said.
"It was intended as a fun tribute to a world record holder, and was never intended to cause offence, so people understand what has happened.
"We're really pleased with the feedback we've had, people can understand what happened and how it happened. We've had a lot of support from the community about how fast we dealt with it."
- © Fairfax NZ News