Billboard Comes Down After Outcry Over Jonestown Reference

You know what puts me in the mood for Mexican food? References to ’70s suicide cults. I must be the only one, though, because an Indiana restaurant chain ended a billboard campaign after complaints about its Jonestown theme. “We’re like a cult, with better Kool-Aid,” the billboards read. “To die for!”

The reference, of course, is to the 1978 mass suicide at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana, better known as Jonestown: a cult that began in Indiana. More than nine hundred people, including children, died of cyanide poisoning: the poison was mixed into vats of Flavor-Aid, a drink similar to Kool-Aid.

“[W]e are not getting the reaction we expected,” a company executive told the South Bend Tribune. “It went the wrong direction, hit a nerve, and we have come to realize we should not have done this billboard. We lose the core message.”

Cory, the tipster who sent this in to Consumerist, noted, “This was over 30 years ago and I kind of like the billboard.” What do you think?


Hacienda pulls ‘cult’ ad [South Bend Tribune]