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Hard Rock Casino in Dominican Republic apologizes & removes “Hindu Pizza” after Hindu protest

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), which  had a “Hindu Pizza” on its menu containing “chicken tikka masala with yogurt, cilantro and mint”, has removed the pizza and apologized to the protesting Hindus.

Anmarí Pérez, Customer Care Manager of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, in an email to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, wrote: “We sincerely apologize and addressed the issue immediately.” “Hindu Pizza” has now reportedly been removed from both restaurant and online menus and all other materials.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Reno (Nevada) today, thanked Orlando (Florida) headquartered Hard Rock International ((HRI), whose tagline is “Love All, Serve All”, for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought it was highly insensitive.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, had termed it as a trivialization of the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought.  Zed had pointed out that Hindus were mostly vegetarian and selling a meat topped pizza in their name was highly inappropriate. No faith, larger or smaller, should be taken frivolously and mishandled for mercantile greed, Zed added.

Rajan Zed suggests that HRI and other companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they have an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns. “Hindu Pizza” was available at the Pizzeto restaurant (in HRI’s largest property located in Punta Cana) which opens daily from 12pm to next day 7am and has a “Dress Code”.

HRI, whose history goes back to 1971; owns-operates restaurants, hotels, live performance venues and casinos globally and sells collectible fashion and music-related merchandise. It claims: “no one does hospitality like us” and it recently launched “Rock Om”; “an in-room yoga experience, energizing the body and soul through the power of music.” It delivers “Rock Om yoga kit” to each hotel room free of charge. Select HRI hotels also reportedly offer live, on-site yoga classes.

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