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Burger Van Owner Receives Death Threats Over 'Sick' Madeleine McCann Joke

Dominic Smithers

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Burger Van Owner Receives Death Threats Over 'Sick' Madeleine McCann Joke

A burger van owner says he has received death threats after making a Madeleine McCann joke to promote his company on Mother's Day.

Joe Scholey runs The Otley Burger Company in Leeds and used an image of the missing girl while cracking a 'joke' about her mum, Kate McCann.

The 29-year-old shared the controversial post to his company's social account.

It read: "With burgers this good, you’ll leave your kids at home. What’s the worst that could happen [sic] Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there."

However, while some called it just a 'bit of fun', others were appalled by the comment, branding it 'absolutely disgusting' and 'sick'.

Joe says he likes to make controversial jokes to get attention. Credit: Leeds Live/MEN Media
Joe says he likes to make controversial jokes to get attention. Credit: Leeds Live/MEN Media

Madeleine went missing from her family's apartment in 2007 while on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, just days before her fourth birthday.

Joe is no stranger to controversy, though, and is known for making jokes about dark topics to get attention, claiming he is just "playing the game, playing to win"

But not everyone sees it like that.

"I get death threats," he said, "I got one this morning. I got a petrol bombing one this morning - which is always good."

They wrote: "I hope someone firebombs your gaffe."

However, despite the messages, Joe said he hasn’t reported any of the threats to the police.

He said: "I’m not taking the mick out of a missing toddler. I’m basically putting, ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ to all the mums. 

His tweet. Credit: @TheOtleyBurgerCompany
His tweet. Credit: @TheOtleyBurgerCompany

"She [Kate McCann] is a mum. Not the world’s greatest mum and not the world’s worst. She’s a mum, there’s one there."

Last year, again for Mother's Day, he was involved in a similar stunt.

But this time, he used a photo of Karen Matthews, the mum from Dewsbury who pretended her daughter had been abducted. 

And on Father's Day, Joe used pictures of the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, Jimmy Savile and Fred West.

At the time, Richard McCann, whose mother Wilma McCann was murdered by Sutcliffe, said Joe should be ashamed of himself.

Defending his actions, Joe said: "I used pictures of Peter Sutcliffe, yeah, but I’d just literally watched the Peter Sutcliffe documentary."

Joe has received threats in the past and his van attacked. Credit: Leeds Live/MEN Media
Joe has received threats in the past and his van attacked. Credit: Leeds Live/MEN Media

He also claimed that he received a number of death threats following the Karen Matthews post, which he said were 'awful'.

"When the Karen Matthews one blew up, it put a load of money in the till," he said.

"I was like, 'That was unexpected – should we do it again for Father’s Day?' But it was stressful. It was awful. We were getting death threats and stuff. We didn’t sleep for two days.”

Joe's company has been vandalised following his stunts, with people throwing bricks and eggs at his van.

"This guy just started egging the s**t out of me and calling us monsters," he recalled, "Then all the chefs kicked off and ran after them down the street. I just thought it was hilarious.

"The ones who throw bricks are pathetic, they need to grow up – coming from me, that’s quite funny.

"The ones who post stuff on Facebook, they’ve got to expect me to give them it back."

Featured Image Credit: Leeds Live/MEN Media/Alamy

Topics: UK News, Madeleine McCann, Crime, Twitter

Dominic Smithers
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