‘Fat people are harder to kidnap’: Billboard owned by Ohio pizza shop causes controversy


(CNN) – A pizza restaurant owner is taking down a sign he made that pokes fun of overweight people. He didn’t get objection from them, but another implication of the message made him think twice.

Jeremy Clemetson has owned his pizza store in Barberton for 14 years and says he enjoys weaving humor in his advertising.

“I thought it would be a good idea to put up some funny signs. Most people seem to like them,” Clemetson said.

Signs that read: “Now hiring, must show up.” “If it’s not there in 30 minutes, move closer.” And a billboard reading, “Free box with every pizza.”

“I scour the internet for different signs that people have had. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I reinvent my own. I also have got some of my funny signs from customers,” Clemetson said.

His latest billboard reads, “Fat people are harder to kidnap.”

It’s a slogan he previously had on the sign outside of his shop for several weeks and on his Facebook page without a single objection.

But Clemetson says he took the store sign down after an email was sent to corporate headquarters complaining it was in poor taste, considering it’s National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

“I never even thought about it in that way, and as soon as I thought it, because kidnapping is not a joke, we are taking it down.”

The response has been overwhelming. Many support the store, while others see how it can be offensive.

It is a slogan that has been used for years on popular t-shirts and advertising for a hotel chain buffet, even as the name of a Facebook page.

Clemetson says he never meant it to be offensive and is sensitive to the objections.

“I have seven kids of my own. I’m from the community here, I’ve lived here pretty much all of my life. I live in Barberton, I have strong roots here. I never even thought about it as the kidnapping aspect, I just meant it to be funny,” he said.

Clemetson says it will probably take a couple days for the billboard to come down.

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