Bad Taste At The Heart Attack Grill

By , March 9, 2011 12:20 am

It’s always sad when someone dies at an early age. It’s particularly tragic when that person slowly kills himself while promoting his unhealthy lifestyle.

No, I’m not talking about Charlie Sheen.

The Heart Attack Grill is a restaurant in Phoenix that “glorifies obesity” according to founder, Jon Basso. The unhealthy menu includes a Quadruple Bypass Burger stacked with two pounds of beef and Flatliner Fries cooked in “pure lard.” They also serve “full sugar” Coca-Cola and no-filter cigarettes. If you weigh over 350 pounds, you eat for free.

Check out one of their ads:

“Mild death may occur,” might sound funny in the commercial. Sadly, though, death did occur. The man eating the burger in that ad was Blair River. The 6-foot-8, 575-pound River died last week at the age of 29. His friends think it was complications from pneumonia, but it’s hard not to wonder if obesity contributed to poor health that, in turn, led to his death.

River’s death is reminiscent of the two Marlboro Men, David McLean and Wayne McLaren, who died of lung cancer in the 1990s. In both the Marlboro ads and possibly the Heart Attack Grill ads, these men were paid to promote unhealthy activities, then died as a result of those activities. Both cases are incredibly ironic. By joking about death, the Heart Attack Grill ad is beyond ironic and just brutal.

So, did River’s death cause Basso to make any changes at the Heart Attack Grill?

From the Arizona Republic:

[Basso] said the people at Heart Attack Grill would pay tribute to their friend by honoring his memory, not by changing the menu.

“We’re going to do what we have been doing,” Basso said. “That’s talking about him in a positive way and letting everyone know what a great person he was.”

It’s nice to remember a friend, but the restaurant promotes obesity – a problem that is getting worse in America. The Heart Attack Grill still has the ad with Blair on their homepage that jokes their diet might cause “mild death” among other health ailments. And the restaurant continues to weigh people in to see if being overweight allows them to eat unhealthy amounts of unhealthy food for free.

Unapologetically promoting and profiting from obesity is in bad taste. Continuing that business after a friend and spokesperson may have died from that condition is sickening.

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One Response to “Bad Taste At The Heart Attack Grill”

  1. Beth says:

    “Complications from pneumonia” don’t kill people that are healthy. He had seriously compromised his health long before he was diagnosed with pneumonia, no matter what his “friends” say. It’s sad to watch anyone commit suicide slowly. It’s even sadder when it’s glorified.

    This story (vaguely) reminds me of the woman who was ‘saved’ by her pizza delivery person after they got worried that her daily pepperoni order hadn’t come for a few days. they found her at home… fallen and couldn’t get up and they’re touting the delivery person as a hero…. Nowhere is it mentioned in the coverage that perhaps a healthier lifestyle would have prevented her fall (and inability to get up) in the first place?

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