KFC Apologizes for Kristallnacht Promotion in Germany

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KFC apologized this week for sending out a message notifying its German customers about an apparent promotion tied to the annual commemoration of Kristallnacht.

Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, refers to a series of pogroms carried out by the Nazi regime on Jewish people in Germany in November 1938, leading to the destruction of thousands of Jewish homes, businesses and schools, the murder of dozens, and the arrest of 30,000 people who were sent to concentration camps. Many historians view it as the start of the Holocaust.

On Nov. 9, KFC Germany sent out a notification to its mobile app users that read: “It’s memorial day for Kristallnacht! Treat yourself with more tender cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!”

The alert led to widespread criticism of the Yum Brands-owned fried chicken chain on social media.

“In a successful attempt to outdo Brewdog in the ‘Worst Marketing Blunder of the month’ stakes, KFC Germany reportedly sent out a push notification offering customers special chicken deals for Kristallnacht, before sending out another message apologising,” tweeted one user, showing what appears to be both the KFC push alert and a later apology for sending the first alert. “Absolutely hideous.”

“BITTE WAS SOLL ICH MIR GÖNNEN?” tweeted another person in German, which roughly translates to: “Please, what should I get to treat myself?”

KFC Germany blamed its bot for the mishap.

“On November 9, an automated push notification was accidently issued to KFC app users in Germany that contained an obviously unplanned, insensitive and unacceptable message and for this we sincerely apologise,” a KFC Germany spokesperson said in an emailed statement to TODAY Food.

KFC said it uses a "semi-automated content creation process" linked to calendars that include national observances, which is to blame for the unfortunate push alert.

“In this instance, our internal review process was not properly followed, resulting in a non-approved notification being shared,” the spokesperson said, adding that it has suspended these automated messages within the app while it examines its process to ensure such an issue does not occur again. “We understand and respect the gravity and history of this day, and remain committed to equity, inclusion and belonging for all.”

Over here in the states, antisemitic messaging on social media has recently been on the rise, with tweets and statements by Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, and NBA player Kyrie Irving adding to concerns about the spread of hate aimed at Jewish communities.

Antisemitic messages have been spotted around the country recently, with signs reading “Kanye is right” being displayed on a building in Jacksonville and outside of a Florida and Georgia football game. A banner with the phrase was also hung on an overpass on Interstate 405 in Los Angeles, complete with people raising their arms in a Nazi salute as they stood behind the banner.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com