‘Fat people are harder to kidnap’: Controversial Barberton pizza shop billboard taken down after backlash

‘Fat people are harder to kidnap’: Controversial Barberton pizza shop billboard taken down after backlash
Billboard was up in Norton to advertise Barberton pizza shop. (Source: East of Chicago Pizza)

BARBERTON, Ohio (WOIO) - A local pizza place is feeling the heat over one of their billboards. Some say the owner went too far.

Jeremy Clemetson owns East of Chicago Pizza in Barberton. He says he started putting up comical billboards about six months ago to attract more business.

One of his billboards in Norton got everyone talking. It read, “Fat people are harder to kidnap.”

The owner of a Barberton pizza place says when he put this billboard up he thought it was funny, but a lot of people...

Posted by Kelly Kennedy on Monday, January 27, 2020

"You shouldn’t make a joke about kidnapping regardless of what it is,” said Laura Hochsteteler.

“I just think that was poor taste, very poor taste, very offensive,” Lisa Archibald said.

Pat Canforia wasn’t offended by it, “I see it as kind of funny myself, and yeah it definitely worked because he’s getting massive advertising and broadcasting over it.”

Clemetson says putting up tongue-in-cheek signage has become his trademark.

“We’ve had, ‘Legalize marinara’, ‘Our pizza is deep as potholes’, ‘Free box with every pizza.’”

The pizza shop owner says he never meant to offend anyone.

“I was more just trying to be funny. I actually had it on my sign out front for three weeks and nobody said anything except funny things about it.”

Some customers were furious. January is national human trafficking awareness month. Clemetson says that never even crossed his mind.

“Once I found out, you know, I have seven kids myself. That it was more sensitive to people because of the kidnapping aspect we actually took it down today.”

No matter how you slice it, Clemetson’s signs are definitely getting his pizza shop more attention.

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