Following controversy over a social media post on Kashmir by Hyundai Motors’ Pakistani dealer, the Indian arms of several multi-national corporations (MNCs), facing backlash and calls for boycotts, have issued apologies for similar messages by their counterparts outside the country.
On Monday, KFC India said, “deeply apologize for a post that was published on some KFC social media channels outside the country.” A verified handle of KFC had posted a message supporting Kashmir Solidarity Day over Facebook.
We deeply apologize for a post that was published on some KFC social media channels outside the country. We honour and respect India, and remain steadfast in our commitment to serving all Indians with pride.
— KFC India (@KFC_India) February 7, 2022
The controversy erupted after several users condemned a social media message supporting Kashmir Solidarity Day, posted by a Twitter account of a Hyundai dealer in Pakistan with the handle @hyundaiPakistanOfficial, supporting what it called as “struggle for freedom”. In a fresh statement on Tuesday, Hyundai Motors regretted the offense caused to Indians by “unauthorised Kashmir-related social media posts” and said the action was against its global policy. The company’s subsidiary in India had also issued an apology on February 6, stating, “India is second home to the Hyundai brand and we have zero tolerance policy towards insensitive communication and we strongly condemn any such view.”
Following KFC, Domino’s also faced backlash with #boycottdominos trending on Twitter for a similar message posted by its Pakistani handle. The company on Wednesday issued an apology for the “unsolicited social media post”, saying, “This is the country we have called our home for the last 25 years, and we stand here to protect its legacy forever.”
This is the country we have called our home for the last 25 years, and we stand here to protect its legacy forever. We respect and honour everything the country has to offer. pic.twitter.com/8II6XuLxb0
— dominos_india (@dominos_india) February 8, 2022
Another international pizza franchise, Pizza Hut’s Pakistan handle on Instagram had also posted a similar message. On Wednesday, the QRS chain released a statement saying, “it does not condone, support or agree with the contents of a post circulating in social media,” according to PTI.
Maruti Suzuki also issued a statement, which said: “As corporate policy, we do not align with any political or religious inclination in any part of the world. Such communication from our dealers or business associates on these topics represents neither our company position nor authorized by us.”
Message from Suzuki Motor Corporation pic.twitter.com/q2xhUoyCP6
— Maruti Suzuki (@Maruti_Corp) February 8, 202
Another automobile manufacturer, based in South Korea, Kia on Wednesday said, “Kia India has taken note of unauthorized social media posts made by an independently-owned dealer based outside of the country, using the dealer’s own accounts. We have since taken strict measures to avoid such misuse of Kia brand identity and have put in place the processes to prevent a recurrence.”
The controversy over the post by Hyundai, which is also based in South Korea, prompted the country’s Foreign minister Chung Eui-yong to call up External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. The Korean minister “regretted the offence” caused to the people and Government of India by the social media post, Ministry of External Affairs said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the MEA’s official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We had seen a social media post on the so-called Kashmir Solidarity Day was made by Hyundai Pakistan. Immediately after this social media post on Sunday, 6th February 2022, our Ambassador in Seoul contacted the Hyundai Headquarters and sought an explanation. The offending post had been removed subsequently. The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs yesterday 7th February 2022.”