Update: Voodoo Doughnuts has suspended eating challenges at all of its locations. A representative of the doughnut shop emailed the following statement: “Our hearts go out to the Malouff family during this very difficult time. We have suspended the eating challenge in all our locations. While this matter is under investigation, we believe it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
A man died from “asphyxia, due to obstruction of the airway” early Sunday morning at the Voodoo Doughnuts in Denver after attempting to finish the Tex-Ass doughnut challenge, NBC affiliate 9 News in Denver reported. Witnesses told the station that bystanders attempted the Heimlich maneuver to no avail.
The story on the station’s website says witnesses reported Travis Malouff, 42, choking as he attempted to eat the shop’s Tex-Ass doughnut, a giant doughnut equivalent to a half-dozen doughnuts, in 80 seconds or fewer. The challenge from the colorful and subversive Portland-based doughnut mini-chain has garnered attention online and was offered at their stores in the Pacific Northwest and Denver. A shift manager at the East Sixth Street location in Austin said the challenge was briefly offered when the shop opened in October 2015 but was cancelled due to lack of interest. There is no word on whether the challenge (or the doughnut itself) has been discontinued elsewhere, but we have an email out to Voodoo Doughnuts.
Reached by the Willamette Weekly in Portland, Voodoo management responded with the following statement: “Our hearts go out to the Malouff family during this very difficult time. While this matter is under investigation, we believe it would be inappropriate to comment further.”