When Recep Turhan, 52, opened a fish and chip shop in London’s iconic Whitechapel district (iconic, sadly, for grim reasons), he pondered on the name.
The area is where serial killer Jack The Ripper brutally murdered multiple women, and Turhan used it as inspiration for his business: Jack The Chipper.
That was two years ago, and when Turhan unveiled a new Greenwich store earlier this year, he used the name again. Only this time, it faced much criticism.
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Turhan stood by the moniker, despite calls from customers and people on social media to change it. Some argued the pun was disrespectful to the victims of the infamous killer, who were sought out, dismembered and failed by authorities.
But the owner, who runs it as a family business, doubled down and said he had no plans to change it. And to show his respect for women, Turhan even offers a 50% discount to his female customers.
We spoke to Turhan to find out why he chose the name in the first place and what he thinks of the pushback.
“The shop is a few hundred meters away from where Jack The Ripper operated. There’s always a lot of tourists and groups visiting the area, going on tours to find out what happened there. So I thought why not name my shop after that, seeing as it’s near there? And my (original) shop has done very well. People take pictures outside and they like the name,” says Turhan.
“No one complained about that store. But when I opened the Greenwich branch, I started getting a lot of hate. But this name is not new, it’s been operating for two years, but no one complained then. I think the people of Greenwich are just more aware of the history of the area or something.”
Turhan insists that if he’d received complaints when he opened his first store, he would have changed the name. But he didn’t, and now two years have passed.
“It’s only now I’m seeing customers come in and complain, leaving negative reviews, and complaining on social media,” he says. “Sometimes people even stop the car to ask why I’ve named my shop that. But I’m not going to change the name. If I named it John, for example, someone might complain then. People will always complain.”
Speaking on the 50% off offer for his female customers, he adds: “I offer half off for women. And people complain about that too, they say I can’t do that. But what do they mean? It’s my business.”
But does he understand why some people might think the punny name is disrespectful to the victims of Jack The Ripper?
“Of course, what he did was not right, it was totally wrong and unacceptable, how can we forget what happened?” he says. “Forget the killing of women, or children or men, I’m against the killing of animals. Life is important, every life is special.”