Everyone’s Freaking Out About The “Death Row Dinners” Restaurant In London

Is this the most ill-judged restaurant idea of all time?

The people behind a death row-themed pop-up restaurant that planned to open in east London are “considering their next steps” after a huge online backlash.

deathrowdinners.club

Death Row Dinners’ website had a series of black-and-white images of death row inmates with menus around their necks. Alongside the photos, it said, “Eat like it’s your last meal on earth,” and asked, “What would your last meal be?”

deathrowdinners.club

The photos have since been taken down.

deathrowdinners.club

The £50-per-head restaurant experience hoped to let Londoners enjoy the idea of their very own last meal, “without the nasty execution bit”.

deathrowdinners.club

The pop-up restaurant was set to open in the hipster neighbourhood of Hoxton, east London, at a place called The Penitentiary.

deathrowdinners.club

The website states that guests on their night of “incarceration” will get to experience a “night behind bars” eating a five-course feast with 80 other people.

deathrowdinners.club

Under the “why?” section of the site, there is a description of the history of last meals, with a light-hearted reference to the fact that the ritual still exists in the countries that practice the death penalty.

deathrowdinners.club

A backlash against the restaurant ensued on Twitter soon after it was announced as people explained why the idea is so utterly terrible.

@DeathRowDinners You're not sorry. You're using people about to be murdered by the state as props. At least be honest. You're bad people.

— no name writer (@wordroot)

@DeathRowDinners using pictures of people who were executed with "menus" round their necks, how on earth did you think that was okay?!

— Primrose Prints (@PrimrosePrints)

@DeathRowDinners Having worked for several years at charity focused on the death penalty, I find the whole concept pretty horrific.

— Ed Gillett (@shapeworship)

.@DeathRowDinners, using capital punishment as a gimmick for a twatty restaurant and they're based in Hoxton how'd I fucking guess

— Gimli Feendish (@PaleCompanion)

Hi @DeathRowDinners I want the full "death row" experience but without any of the trials, imprisonment, death or indignity. Can you do that?

— linkshund (@linkshund)

Many believed the restaurant was a hoax.

Vice UK suggested it could have been “an elaborate ruse set up by art students”.

However, BuzzFeed News spoke to Eventbrite, the website that hosted the ticket purchase for the restaurant, and it confirmed that it had been dealing with a “a legitimate organisation”.

After BuzzFeed News made a call to Death Row Dinners’ PR firm, Kaper, the proprietors swiftly uploaded the following statement to their website:


We’re shocked and saddened by the response to Death Row Dinners and are genuinely very sorry for any offence caused. The pop-up is intended to explore the concept of last meals; anyone who has ever been to a dinner party has probably had this conversation – what would they love their last meal to be.

In light of the response to the idea we are considering our next steps and will update everyone with our decision.

They then tweeted the apology, saying they had been “shocked and saddened” by the response to the restaurant.

We're saddened by the response & sorry for the offence. @DeathRowDinners is intended to explore 'last meals'. In full http://t.co/9u0KQSwdon

— Death Row Dinners (@DeathRowDinners)

BuzzFeed News has contacted the organisation. We will update this story when there is new information.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rossalyn Warren at rossalyn.warren@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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