Why Neil Patrick Harris Had To Apologize For An Amy Winehouse 'Cake' When Photos Outraged Fans

The Amy Winehouse-themed party item was gauche, gory, and disrespectful.

Amy Winehouse, Neil Patrick Harris Featureflash Photo Agency & Ron Adar / Shutterstock

Neil Patrick Harris sparked the ire of the internet when a decorating decision he made at a 2011 Halloween party came back to haunt him in 2022.

Harris, 49, hosted a Halloween party in 2011 with his husband David Burtka. Eleven years later, fans called him out for how he chose to plate a certain dish, in the style of a star who had recently died.

In a grotesque decorating twist, Neil Patrick Harris offered a ‘Corpse of Amy Winehouse’ platter at his Halloween party.

The party took place mere months after Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011. Harris and Burtka featured what was mistakenly referred to across the internet as the ‘Amy Winehouse cake.’ In actuality, the well-liked and admired actors served a meat platter designed to look like Amy Winehouse after her death. 


In a since-deleted tweet, Justin Mikita, who is married to actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, posted a photo of the platter with the caption, “Look who showed up at @ActuallyNPH and @GourmetMD’s Halloween party last night. Looking good.”

RELATED: 3 Important Things Matthew McConaughey Bans His Kids From Doing In His Home


Image Credit: Twitter

The meat platter was accompanied by a handwritten sign stating “Corpse of Amy Winehouse” along with a description of the food plated, which included “beef ribs, pulled pork [and] chicken sausage in a spicy BBQ sauce.” 

RELATED: 8 Celebrities Who Don't Speak To Their Children — And Why

Fans slammed Harris and Burtka’s decision to serve food styled after Amy Winehouse’s corpse. 

A tweet from writer Ashley Reese in May 2022 brought the Amy Winehouse-themed dish to light once more, eleven years after its original circulation. Reese expressed her disbelief at “very online people over the age of 25” who had just discovered what she called “Neil Patrick Harris’s disgusting Amy Winehouse cake.”


The violently-rendered and graphic meat platter had fans rethinking not only their appreciation for Neil Patrick Harris but the mistreatment that Amy Winehouse suffered, even after her tragic death.



As one user on Twitter noted, “Society is way overdue for a discussion about the way Amy Winehouse was treated in the early 2000s and 2010s by the misogynistic celebrity media machine and the people who were a captive audience to it. Neil Patrick Harris' f–d up corpse cake is just the tip of the iceberg.” 

Winehouse, who was 27 when she died, openly battled against a myriad of mental health struggles, including depression, addiction, self-harm, and eating disorders. Winehouse didn’t easily fit into any defined box, and her refusal to paint a pretty picture for the media regarding her struggles made her an easy target for the general media juggernaut.


As many fans expressed their distaste for Harris’s decision to make fun of Winehouse’s death for his own amusement, Harris issued an apology in Entertainment Weekly in May 2022.

Harris stated, “A photo recently resurfaced from a Halloween-themed party my husband and I hosted 11 years ago. It was regrettable then, and it remains regrettable now. Amy Winehouse was a once-in-a-generation talent, and I'm sorry for any hurt this image caused."

There’s a thin line between macabre humor and basic disrespect. Winehouse was a media target for so long, it almost seemed normalized to make fun of the tragedy surrounding her. But there’s nothing particularly edgy about doing so. Rather, to do so exhibits a lack of empathy toward the memory of someone who was severely struggling.


RELATED: Taylor Swift's Former Classmate Explains Why 'Most People Hated Her' During High School

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.