An off-the-cuff remark President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson made over two years ago is still haunting him, as he felt compelled to apologise for going “too far” in jokingly proposing a ban on pineapple pizza, CBC reports.
“That’s where the influence of this office sort of, yeah, got the better of me,” Guðni said in a radio interview. “I went a step too far.”
His remarks on wanting to ban pineapple on pizza inexplicably made international headlines at the time, even prompting Sam “Pineapple” Panopoulos, the reported creator of pineapples on pizza, to express confusion at the President’s loathing. The pushback, from Sam and many others, prompted Guðni to clarify his position.
“I like pineapple, just not on pizza,” Guðni said at the time. “But I can’t make laws that make it illegal for people to put pineapples on their pizzas. I am happy I don’t have that authority, presidents shouldn’t be tyrants. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where those in my position could ban things they don’t like. But I recommend putting seafood on pizza.”
In the CBC interview, Guðni elaborated further on the walkback statement, saying, “I had to think it through and sort of calm these stormy waters and I issued a statement, a presidential statement, on pineapples on pizza. As much as I do not like pineapple on pizza, the individual freedom of having the topping of your choice overrides that. I have nothing against pineapples, but when they’re put on pizza they get all sort of mushy.”
When the interviewer questioned Guðni’s change of heart, calling it a “flip-flop”, Guðni defended himself saying, “I think politicians in general should be allowed to not flip-flop, but revise, to change their mind. You know, what’s wrong with changing your mind?”
The President’s motives for recommending seafood on pizza instead was criticised at the time by Sam as indicating that Guðni was lobbying for Iceland’s fishing industry. When this was brought up in the CBC interview, Guðni took it in stride, saying, “Iceland are a nation of fisherfolk and, you know, if everyone put seafood on their pizzas, that would be a very nice thing to do.”