KFC apologizes after promoting a menu item to commemorate Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi attacks on Jews believed by many to be the start of the Holocaust.
“Today is a folk festival commemoration day! Treat yourself to more tender cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCcheese!” says a BBC translation of a push notification sent to KFC app users in Germany on Wednesday.
Soon three different ones screenshots KFC’s notification was posted on Twitter, prompting widespread criticism on social media.
“Absolutely disgusting,” tweeted Daniel Sugarman, director of public affairs for the Board of Deputies of British Jews. “Completely speechless and disgusted” tweeted Arsen Ostrovsky, head of the International Legal Forum, a pro-Israel legal organization.
About an hour later, KFC followed with a pullback of sorts, with a warning in all caps that read: “SORRY WE MADE A MISTAKE.”
“Due to a system error, we sent an incorrect and inappropriate alert to our app,” the message reads. “We are very sorry, we will check our internal processes immediately so that something like this does not happen again. Please excuse this mistake.”
KFC, which is owned by Yum Brands, told CBS MoneyWatch in an emailed statement that it accidentally issued an automated push notification that contained an “unplanned, insensitive and unacceptable message.”
The company said it uses a semi-automated content creation process linked to calendars that include national compliances and in this case its “internal review process was not properly followed”.
KFC has suspended app communications until it figures out how to ensure such an issue does not recur, the company said, adding, “We understand and respect the gravity and history of this day and continue to stand up for justice.” , inclusion and belonging one for all.”
Kristallnacht, also known as “The Night of Broken Glass,” refers to the November 9 pogroms perpetrated by Nazis against Jews in Germany and Austria 84 years ago. According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the mob demolished hundreds of synagogues and 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses, homes and schools within 48 hours, killing 91 people. Another 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and taken to concentration camps.