Whole Foods is drawing heavy criticism over a social media publicity stunt gone awry. Yesterday, one of their Baltimore stores decided to provide free food for National Guardsmen who were dispatched in the wake of riots and protests following the funeral for Freddie Gray, a young African-American man who died of a spine injury while in police custody.
We teamed up with @mtwashingtonwfm to make sandwiches for the men and women keeping Baltimore safe. We are so thankful to have them here and they're pumped for Turkey & Cheese!
The post, and its subsequent deletion, drew strong responses on social media. Many who sympathized with the protesters wondered what or who, exactly, the National Guard was "keeping Baltimore safe" from, given that the protests are in response to a citizen who died while in police custody.
Others sided with the high-end grocery store, saying that it shouldn't have deleted the post or felt the need to cover its tracks to appease those who were angered:
I'm not sure what's sadder, the fact that people were upset that @WholeFoods fed some NG guys, or that they caved to them and took it down.— Terminal Lance (@TLCplMax) April 29, 2015
Whole Foods posted the following on Instagram to explain their deleting of the post:
We removed the post because it did not accurately reflect all our local stores are doing to feed people across this city, especially children. Again, we love our community, will continue to support our city in the days to come, as we always do, and extend our heartfelt sympathy to those affected.