Death Row Dining/An East London Dining Event

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No actual inmates were used in the shooting of this image.

Last week an East London restaurant with a novel concept in dining, was guillotined by social media. The event? Death Row Meals.

Diners – or inmates, as they were referred to for the purposes of this experience – were charged, sentenced, and frisked before being seated to a five-course death row feast modelled around the actual final requests of death row prisoners.

Accused on Twitter of “tasteless profiteering” and “being disgusting” the pop-up restaurant soon cancelled their Death Row Dinners, but not without issuing a statement that said, in part:

“On the back of the extreme reaction that has garnered the attention of media outlets around the world, after careful reflection we have decided to go ahead with Death Row Dinners.
The severity of the reaction is not at all surprising in the current world of instant outrage but cancelling the event only supports this short-termism currently infecting the population …

… All over the world there are attractions that have the potential to offend.

Some people go for a walk in the park, others go on a Jack The Ripper walk of London.
Some people go on a tour of the White House, others go to Jefferson state penitentiary for tours of the chamber where executions take place.
Some people stay in the Hilton while others stay in Karosta prison hotel, for that “authentic” prison feel.”

 What do you think? Too far?

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2 thoughts on “Death Row Dining/An East London Dining Event

  1. I wonder if it’s because it’s ‘personal’. That it’s about an individual (or individuals) rather than a group of nameless people. e.g. the Jack the Ripper Walk. (Which I have been on.) How many people know the names of his victims? Or the people who visit Auschwitz and take selfies. Maybe it’s easier to disassociate when it’s about a group, but feels more ‘real’ when it’s one single person or a few named individuals. Does that make sense?

    Or is it because it’s about food? None of us are living in Nazi Germany or Victorian London, but we all have to eat. Does that make it more personal? Hmmmm. Don’t know the answer, but you’ve raised an interesting question.

  2. I mulled on this over the weekend. Not sure where the line is, or why it is where it is. At first, i thought, maybe it’s an issue of time. Death row executions are still taking place, so maybe that’s why this particular issue is more sensitive than viewing a torture chamber when heading out to a feast at one of the Medieval Times ventures. The time issue might fit with why a Jack the Ripper walking tour is less offensive than a death row final meal?

    And yeah, I think there’s some merit in your observation about a group of nameless people. Especially with ever-present fear of wrongful convictions?

    Here’s where I’m kind of stymied. Visiting Jack the Ripper’s victims’ last moments, or taking a selfie at Auschwitz – no one can deny those victims were innocent. It’s odd that there’s no brouhaha around turning those places/events into tourist hotspots, but the death row meal – representing the final repast of some really bad-ass people – is sacred.

    The final meal organizers note that social media now makes instant outrage the flavor of the day. And I agree. Frankly, I would do the Jack the Ripper walking tour, visit Alcatraz, AND do a final meal. Are some – or all – of those in poor taste? Sure. My personal line is at Auschwitz selfies.

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