Bar forced to apologise after facing backlash over 'sickening' Jay Slater meme

Bees Knees bar in Accrington has been blasted after sharing a sick meme about Jay Slater
-Credit: (Image: No credit)

A bar has faced a barrage of criticism after posting a 'sickening' meme about Jay Slater.

Bees Knees bar in Accrington, Lancashire, has since issued an apology and donated to the search appeal for the missing teenager. The establishment, near Jay's hometown of Oswaldtwistle, sparked outrage when it shared an image on its Facebook page referring to the 19-year-old's disappearance in Tenerife last month.

Jay, an apprentice bricklayer, went missing while trying to return to his accommodation after spending time with two other Brits in the mountain village of Masca.

READ MORE: Police investigate discovery of man's body in south Manchester

People were quick to hit out at the bar when it shared the image on its Facebook page, showing an image of Jay alongside a picture of a football with the caption, "both not coming home", in reference to England's performance in the Euros. The post was blasted as "disgusting", with managers for the bar having since deleted it, describing it as "highly sensitive" and "deeply offensive", the Mirror reports.

Rachel Hargreaves, mother of Jay's best friend Brad, was among those to slam the bar over the post, saying she couldn't understand "how cruel some people really are". "Jay's hometown he is a customer in the bar too and they posted (that) in error apparently," Rachel wrote.

She said the joke was "sickening". "How can anyway (sic) even share stuff like that, very disgusting and very disrespectful," she wrote in response.

Jay Slater with his brother Zak and mum Debbie
Jay Slater with his brother Zak and mum Debbie -Credit:Facebook

The Bees Knees issued an apology to its customers on Monday, saying an outsourced social media company had made the post after contracting them to improve their online presence. The bar has since donated £1,000 to the GoFundMe page set up for helping the search for Jay - which appears to be the biggest donation yet.

Issuing a grovelling apology on Monday, Bees Knees said: "This morning a conversation between Bees Knees Directors and Affordable Social has taken place in which we have decided to terminate our contract with immediate effect, after not receiving an adequate explanation into how this happened. Affordable Social were challenged three months ago to improve our social media pages via light-hearted humour, good content and sports talk.

"The post that made it onto the page was neither one of the above and was highly insensitive and deeply offensive. As a business, we are utterly gobsmacked that this has happened and how somebody could find good humour in a missing boy. I can’t stress enough nobody within the pub company has posted this status, some of which are receiving threatening messages which is completely unacceptable.

"As a company, we are East Lancashire based with our head office in Blackburn, we fully understand the impact this news about Jay has had on the area. We all have our fingers crossed for his safe return to the UK. We however fully appreciate the damage that has been done and nothing can change this however we will make a donation to the family fund of £1000 to assist the search for Jay."

A screengrab shared by the bar which appears to show a comment from Affordable Social says: "This morning, an employee posted something that does not reflect our brand standards or our client Bees Knees Accrington and has caused offence [sic] to others and upset to those involved. We are deeply distressed by the post, which was removed minutes after being posted.

"The employee responsible for this post no longer works for Affordable Social. We sincerely apologize [sic] to everyone affected by this incident." Affordable Social has been approached for comment.