Fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) suggested its German customers mark the anniversary of Nazi pogroms against Jews by treating themselves to "more tender cheese to go with your crispy chicken."
Outrage ensued on social media Wednesday after the company sent the message, titled "Remembrance Day of the Reich Pogrom Night," via a notification from its phone app that said: "Go ahead and treat yourself to more tender cheese to go with your crispy chicken."
Weekly news magazine Stern quoted a Twitter user as saying: "Could it be any more tasteless? I'm uninstalling the app now, this has gone too far and is inexcusable."
KFC later apologized, sending another push notification that said the mistake was due to "a bug in our system."
"We sent an incorrect and inappropriate message via our app. (...) Please accept our apologies for this error," it said.
The reason for the blunder was the semi-automated process via which the company creates such content for the app, KFC said in a press release. That process was linked to calendars that include days of celebration, commemoration and action, it added.
"We emphasize that it was in no way our intention to trivialize the seriousness and historical significance of the Reichspogromnacht or to hurt victims or their descendants. KFC is permanently and actively committed to equality, inclusion and participation of all people," the statement continued.
On Nov. 9, 1938, Nazi-led pogroms against the Jewish community took place throughout Germany, in which synagogues were burned, stores were looted and destroyed, Jews suffered abuse and arbitrary arrest. Several hundred Jews were murdered or driven to commit suicide.