It's easy to see how this happened: Whoever manages the DiGiorno frozen pizza Twitter account saw a trending hashtag, #whyistayed, and completely misunderstood it.
From the Tweet above, it looks like they assumed the meme was about staying in a tired relationship. It was actually used by survivors of domestic abuse to share their stories, like "I thought I could change him," and "I didn't know he was abusing me." It runs parallel to another hashtag, #whyileft, and both allow strangers to create a huge, virtual support group.
The DiGiorno Tweet was a huge mistake, making it as far as coverage in Time. The administrator has been performing due penance, apologizing individually, over and over again, to people who called them on it.
The moral of the story? Educate yourself. Not just about what hashtags and memes are really about, but deeper on the underlying social issues that drive them.
And when you do screw up, make it right. Even if you are just a pizza brand.
Thanks to Audra Williams (via Facebook) for the tip.