BERLIN (AP) — KFC has apologized for accidentally sending an automated push alert to users of its app in Germany that appeared to urge people to order food to commemorate the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht — the “Night of Broken Glass.” – when the Nazis terrorized Jews all over Germany and Austria.
The company faced an outcry for the alert that was issued Wednesday at a time when Jewish groups are warning of rising anti-Semitism. According to screenshots shared online, the app’s alert read, “Reich Pogrom Night Memorial Day. Treat yourself to softer cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!
KFC Germany said the notification was an “unexpected, insensitive and unacceptable message and for that we sincerely apologize”.
“We use a semi-automated content creation process tied to calendars that include national celebrations. In this instance, our internal review process was not properly followed, resulting in the sharing of an unapproved notification,” the company said in a statement Thursday.
The chicken chain says it has halted communications with the apps and is revising its policies to avoid similar notifications in the future, adding that “we understand and respect the gravity and history of this day, and remain committed to equity, inclusion and belonging for all”.
The notification prompted an outcry from Jewish groups, with Dalia Grinfeld, associate director of European affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, tweet in German: “How could you be wrong on the night of the Reich pogrom, @KFCDeutschland (@kfc)?! Shame on you!”
The alert came on the anniversary of Nov. 9, 1938, when Nazis, many of them ordinary Germans, killed at least 91 people and vandalized 7,500 Jewish businesses during Kristallnacht pogroms across Germany and Austria. They also burned down more than 1,400 synagogues, according to the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem. In Germany, the event is more commonly known as Reich Pogrom Night.
To mark the day, Holocaust survivors around the world have warned of the resurgence of anti-Semitism in a campaign called #ItStartedWithWords. Jewish groups say attacks and incidents of bias and hate speech are on the rise.
Brands recently severed ties with celebrities over anti-Semitic comments, including German sportswear company Adidas and others with rapper formerly known as Kanye West and Nike with NBA player Kyrie Irving .
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