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Fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has issued an apology for an accidental alert message that went out to consumers on its app, appearing to treat Germany’s Kristallnacht as a typical holiday.
Kristallnacht, “the night of broken glass” took place November 9 to November 10 when the Nazis persecuted Jewish people in Germany and other areas. Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues were destroyed, leading to the day’s name of the attacks.
Lots of synagogues burned during the night as local firefighters watched instead of putting them out because they had been told to only get involved to stop the fire from spreading to other structures. Jewish cemeteries were also desecrated in many areas.
In Germany, the anniversary of the night is treated as a memorial and this year marks the 84th anniversary of the tragic events.
KFC sent a message to its customers, saying, “Commemorate Kristallnacht – treat yourself to more soft cheese and crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!”
The company received backlash for its message, but about an hour later, an additional alert was sent out, which included an apology.
“We are very sorry, we will check our internal processes immediately so that this does not happen again. Please excuse this error,” the message said, according to the Bild newspaper via BBC.
Bild said the error was “tasteless” and called it “fast-food advertising at the cost of the remembrance of the victims of the Nazi regime.”
According to CNN Business, KFC also said that it uses a “semi-automated content creation process linked to calendars that include national observances,” noting that “in this instance, our internal review process was not properly followed, resulting in a non-approved notification being shared.”
It said that it “sincerely” apologized for the “unplanned, insensitive and unacceptable message” and added that app communications had been paused during an investigation into them.
“Earlier today an automated push notification was accidently [SIC] issued to KFC app users in Germany that contained an obviously unplanned, insensitive and unacceptable message,” KFC Germany said in a statement sent to CNN Business. “We understand and respect the gravity and history of this day, and remain committed to equity, inclusion and belonging for all.”
Daniel Sugarman, Director of Public Affairs at the Board of Deputies of British Jews said the original KFC alert was “absolutely hideous.” Dalia Grinfeld, of the Jewish NGO Anti-Defamation League, reportedly tweeted, “How wrong can you get on Kristallnacht KFC Germany. Shame on you!”