Domino's NZ has apologised and pulled a controversial "Karen" promotion after receiving criticism on social media.

The pizza franchise decided to give "Karens" a break from negativity by rewarding 100 people with the name a chance to win free pizza.

It asked Karens, who could prove their name with ID, to tell Domino's in 250 words or less how they're one of the "nice" ones.

The name Karen is a term millennials use to describe rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle-aged white women who complain about things

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However, people called out Domino's for poorly understanding the context of the "Karen" meme in its Facebook comments.

"Domino's New Zealand, I would like to speak to your manager, please! I cannot believe the ignorance displayed in this post and the narrative you are trying to spin on this. There is so much context missing from this and you. Domino's NZ have failed to recognise the harm this post has caused. I suggest you take this down immediately and publicly apologise," one post said.

Another added: "Can we nominate the Karen that thought this was a good marketing ploy in this climate for a demotion? Are you guys tone-deaf or just dumb? Delete this."

"Since when has it been a 'tough time' to be white," another poster asked.

One pointed out that there are others who are more in need of free pizza.

"Why don't you give pizzas to people who actually need it? Like the people who are homeless and have no food security? Food bank vouchers?," one person asked.

In an apology on Facebook, Domino's said they were trying to put a smile on customer's faces with the promotion, but in the end, it realised got it wrong and therefore pulled the promotion off social media.

We are sorry. Throughout COVID-19 we’ve tried to bring a smile to customers faces, with our pizza and our social...

Posted by Domino's New Zealand on Tuesday, 28 July 2020

The company said it understood that its promotion lacked important context which led to people interpreting the competition in a different way than intended.

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"Our post came off the back of a number of situations in Victoria, Australia which received international media coverage, including in New Zealand," the franchise explained.

"A person who decided they didn't have to follow the mandate and wear a mask and took it out on retail workers; a person who breached a Covid-19 checkpoint, potentially endangering others; a person who was bored walking in her neighbourhood.

"These examples were widely known, and publicly commented on: Bunnings "Karen", Checkpoint "Karen", and "Karen" from Brighton.

Domino's said it wanted to reward customers who are doing the right thing, hence why they reached out to Karen the nurse, Karen the teacher, Karen the mum.

"Our intention was one of inclusivity only. Our pizza brings people together and we only had this at the heart of the giveaway," the Facebook post continued.

"We want you to know that we are always listening and learning and when we get it wrong, we fix it."

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