Oddbox sorry for ‘completely unacceptable’ sexist Mike Tyson joke on veg box

Oddbox has issued a grovelling apology after a note sent out in its deliveries has been slammed for trivialising violence against women.

Customers of the food box company are furious after the usual witty note that comes with their fruit and veg likened their onions to being attacked by boxer Mike Tyson.

It read: “Dear Oddboxer, Short, sweet and punchy – like a first date with Mike Tyson – that’s how these box letters need to be from now on.

“I think I’ll need a more relatable analogy.

“Short, sweet and

Three-times married Mike has been dogged by rumours of violence and domestic abuse.

He was jailed for rape in 1992 and also has convictions for assault, cocaine possession and driving under the influence.

In 1997 the 55-year-old bit of a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a boxing bout and was later banned from the sport for 15 months.

A couple in east London, who have asked not to be named, said they found the note in their delivery on Thursday which ‘normalised’ violence against women.

The woman said: “I’m used to the note having dad jokes so I was completely shocked that a company like Oddbox would think it was was funny to joke about domestic violence.

“There is nothing funny about punching a woman on a date and a joke like this is normalising violence against women.

“This is unacceptable.”

Oddbox specialises in minimising food wastage as it provides customers with fruit and veg from farms that look a little different and would be rejected by the supermarkets.

Customers pay a monthly fee for regular fruit and veg boxes to their homes.

“It makes me question the culture of Oddbox as a company which is a shame as I like everything it stands for,” the woman said.

“There are many people out there who are survivors of domestic violence so it’s really not on to joke about it and compare it with vegetables.

“Someone would have written the note and it would have been signed off which is just unacceptable.

“I am really disappointed.”

Her partner contacted Oddbox who sent them an apology and promised it would not happen again but the couple plan to switch to a local supplier of fruit and veg boxes.

He said: “The note has left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m the one that read it first and could not believe what it said.

“It’s not the sort of thing you expect to read when you receive your delivery of veg.”

Grace Jessup is from the campaign group Reclaim These Street which organised a vigil to highlight the safety of women following the death of Sarah Everard in London.

The vigil was cancelled due to coronavirus rules but the group plan to hold events once the lockdown is lifted.

She said: “This is a really poor choice of words which makes light of such an important issue.

“Oddbox should think about hiring a new copywriter. I’m not surprised to see a brand make light of a topic like this, because casual sexism and violent rhetoric is something we see every day.

“Obviously with heightened attention around the recent case and the reaction to the vigil, people are more alert to incidences of sexism than usual, so hopefully this will make other brands think twice before lazily referencing violence against women for a cheap laugh again.”

The note has also attracted criticism on Twitter.

Another Oddbox customer tweeted the note saying: “Mike Tyson was convicted of rape and imprisoned for it,

@OddboxLDN making a joke about a ‘punchy’ date with him is extraordinarily insensitive considering what women have been through recently in London. Sort it out, Oddbox.”

A second person tweeted: “This isn’t good enough. It’s completely and utterly outrageous and please don’t underestimate the impact that this can have on team members who may have their own experiences. I have just spoken to one of you team and would like to be contacted by someone in Snr Management.”

A spokeswoman for Oddbox said: “We wholeheartedly apologise for this week’s box letter; our words were completely unacceptable.

“We appreciate being called out and we understand that what we said was beyond inappropriate. We want to reassure our community that this does not in any way reflect our culture and the letter has now been removed from all future boxes.

“Rest assured, it will never happen again.”