British Columbia

'Willie Pickton' drink brings backlash on Wings restaurant

A woman who snapped a photo of a drink menu at a Wings restaurant in Surrey says she can't believe the restaurant would name a drink after the convicted killer. She says it's "insulting" and would cause "huge emotional distress" to families of victims.

Restaurant says drink name was from unapproved menu designed by manager no longer with company

The Wings restaurant where Rebecca Brass says she saw the menu with the "Willie Pickton" shooter. (Google Streetview)

A chain restaurant is at the centre of public backlash after a customer says an item on their drink menu was named after serial killer Robert Pickton.

Rebecca Brass says the Wings location on King George Boulevard in Surrey featured a shooter called "Willie Pickton," consisting of "Blue Caracao; blackberry; melon; orange juice; cranberry."

Brass says she was shocked when she saw the item and snapped a picture of it.

This shooter menu shows the "Willie Pickton" shot. (Rebecca Brass)

"I find this extremely insulting that the business is profiting off of family's tragedies by having a shooter named after a serial killer," Brass wrote to the CBC.

"I work closely with the families of the murdered and missing women in my role as a counsellor at WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre and know if this was seen by family members it would cause huge emotional distress."

Robert "Willie" Pickton was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2007.

The remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his pig farm, many of them marginalized women living on the Downtown Eastside.

Wings: menu wasn't approved, rogue manager to blame

Wings management, in a statement, said the menu was not approved by head office and was created by a former manager of this Surrey location.

"We take complete responsibility for this situation and have already taken immediate action to rectify this isolated incident," the statement read.

"We deeply sympathize with the victims and this shot does not reflect the company's belief or views in any way."

The restaurant says it has since sent out a memo reminding staff that all menus need to be approved by head office first.

Family member 'so angry right now'

Lorelei Williams is the women's director at the Vancouver Aboriginal Policing Centre.

Lorelei Williams is the women's director at the Vancouver Aboriginal Policing Centre. Her cousin disappeared in 1996 and was eventually discovered to be one of Pickton’s victims. (CBC)
Her cousin disappeared in 1996 and was eventually discovered to be one of Pickton's victims. She says she can't believe a restaurant would name a drink after a someone like him.

"I'm so angry right now. Who does this? Who comes up with this idea?" she said. "There are so many ignorant people out there. And that's what us family members need to deal with."

"Honestly, if I was there and I saw that, something would've flown across that room. Something would've been broken."

With resignation, Williams says this won't be the last example of insensitivity the families of Pickton's victims must deal with.

Brass agrees this is bigger than a tasteless menu.

"This is indicative of a broader cultural issue and desensitization to violence," she wrote. "This isn't just about the restaurant industry, it's about our society."

With files from Tanya Fletcher