The fast food chain has apologized for its “insensitive” push notification for the anniversary of Kristallnacht.
The German branch of the US fast food chain KFC has apologized for urging customers to commemorate Kristallnacht – the 1938 Nazi pogrom against Jews – with more cheese on their crispy chicken.
“Yesterday [November 9], an automated push notification was sent to users of the KFC app in Germany containing an insensitive and unacceptable message. We apologize for this,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
According to KFC, push notifications are generated “semi-automatically” based on calendars listing public holidays and commemoration days.
“In this particular case, our internal review process was not properly followed,” KFC explained. “We understand and respect the seriousness and history of this day and we remain committed to equality, inclusion and belonging for all.”
The text of the push notification, which was sent on the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known in Germany as ‘Reichspogromnacht’, read: “Remembrance of the Reichspogromnacht. Treat yourself with more tender cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!”
In another push alert sent shortly afterwards, KFC said it “made a mistake,” but screenshots of the earlier promotion had already appeared on social media, sparking outrage.
“Wow, just wow! I am utterly speechless and repulsed,” Arsen Ostrovsky, the head of the pro-Israel legal group International Legal Forum, tweeted.
Wow, just wow! I am utterly speechless and repulsed! @kfc Germany puts out promotional campaign inviting customers to treat themselves on #Kristallnacht … with some “crispy chicken with tender cheese.”
You can’t make this up! pic.twitter.com/dvKTUvo3wv
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) November 9, 2022
“Shame on you,” Dalia Grinfeld, the Anti-Defamation League’s associate director of European affairs, wrote above a screenshot of the KFC alert.
Kristallnacht, or ‘the Night of Broken Glass’, saw thousands of Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues across Germany targeted and destroyed, leaving more than 90 people dead. It is viewed by many historians as a prelude to the Holocaust.