While visiting the Wings restaurant in Surrey, a B.C. woman was outraged to find a drink bearing the name of Canada’s most notorious serial killer, Robert Pickton.
The “Willie Pickton”, featuring a mix of blue curacao, melon, orange juice, cranberry, and blackberry, appeared on the restaurant’s shooter menu until recently. It was removed when Rebecca Brass, an aboriginal woman who works extensively with the families of missing and murdered Vancouver women, demanded the chain take action.
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Robert Pickton shot to notoriety in 2002 after an RCMP search of his Port Coquitlam farm resulted in the discovery of human remains belonging to at least 27 missing women, many of them indigenous women from the Downtown East Side.
He was charged in February 2002 for the murders of 27 women, but once told an undercover police officer that he killed as many as 49. Evidence heard during the trial confirmed that Pickton had fed the women’s bodies to his pigs and then sold the meat to neighbours.
The court eventually stayed most of the charges and ultimately found Pickton guilty of six counts of second-degree murder in 2007, with a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for up to 25 years.
WATCH BELOW: B.C. woman explains why its not OK to name a drink after serial killer Robert Pickton
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Brass says the inclusion of this drink on the menu creates “a huge desensitization toward the culture of violence that we live in.”
“This is very unacceptable. It is extremely inappropriate.”
She added that she does not know how long the drink existed on the menu until she complained.
Photo: Rebecca Brass Rebecca Brass
Photo: Rebecca Brass
The Surrey Wings location was the only one of the chain to offer the drink, and has now said the employee who came up with the drink is no longer employed.
“The Surrey team sincerely apologizes for over-sighting this old list created by the past manager,” said a representative from the company in a statement.
They say they removed the menu listing the drink immediately after Brass notified the restaurant.
“Our approved drink menu, which is the only menu all of our restaurants should have, is head office approved and created.”
A note has now been sent out to all Wings locations that all menus need to be approved by head office before hitting the floor.
READ MORE: Families of missing, murdered indigenous women want action beyond inquiry
Brass feels like their response was unsatisfactory.
“I feel like a real apology would include acknowledgement of the harm and that they want to make this restaurant safe for indigenous women and families.”
She thinks the restaurant overlooked the “huge emotional distress” seeing the killer’s name could cause patrons and employees.
“I think businesses, as well as people just like us, need to be held accountable for perpetuating violence against indigenous women.”