Pizza with Mexican slang name creates controversy

A jalapeño-laden pizza is causing heated debate along U.S. border states.

The dish, marketed by the Pizza Patrón chain based in Texas and located in states with large Hispanic populations including California, Arizona and Florida, carries the Mexican slang name "Chingona" pizza, which can be translated most politely as "badass" but is also interpreted as profanity by some Spanish speakers, Reuters reports.

The pizza, which is set to go on sale on March 31 and has 90 slices of jalapeño-infused pepperoni topped with diced jalapeño peppers, has many of the chain’s franchise owners so upset about the name that they won’t put it on their menus. Nearly 20 of the chain's 90 outlets have refused to sell the pizza.

Likewise, national and local Spanish-language radio stations have refused to air commercials featuring the pizza, because the name could be considered profanity and violate Federal Communications Commission regulations. Even television broadcasters have shied away from the name, worried that saying it on air could get them fired.

"It's a colloquial Mexican term that's used very commonly among our core customers, which is a Mexican-born, Spanish-speaking customer, in part of their everyday lifestyle," Andrew Gamm, brand director at Pizza Patrón, told Reuters.

To appease worried franchise owners, the company has slightly changed the dish’s name in some print ads, labeling it "La Ch!#gona" instead.

"We thought we'd do a little bit of self-censorship, tongue-in-cheek, and add the exclamation point and hashtag inside the word," Gamm said. "But if you know the word, you can still read it very easily."