Kent RO Chairman Mahesh Gupta on Wednesday apologised for an advertisement by the company which was called out for being classist and promoting casteist notions of purity.
The ad for Kent’s bread maker, which circulated widely on social media, said: “Are you allowing your maid to knead atta dough by hand? Her hands may be infected. Choose KENT Atta & Bread Maker for hands-free kneading of dough. Let automation take care of hygiene this time!”
One of the posts, which featured Lok Sabha MP Hema Malini and daughter Esha Deol, also said: “Don’t compromise with Health & Purity”.
The Sree Jagruti Samiti, a Karnataka-based organisation working for domestic workers’s rights, said in a statement: “The Advertising council must force and punish the company, for the putrefying ad...”
“In these times of vulnerability and safety of all, discrimination, prejudice, caste and communal are in the DNA of some of the privileged classes and companies We see it from homes, to relief work, to factories, to schools, to even hotels. Our union survey conversations reveal that the impact of COVID-19 has been tremendous!” the statement read, according to The Quint.
While several Twitter users called out the ad on Tuesday, many also reported it to the Advertising Standards Council of India.
The Advertising Council said they had gotten the ad removed from various platforms and directed complainants back to Kent for further action.
On Tuesday, Kent Chairman Mahesh Gupta apologised for the ad, saying, “It was unintentional but wrongly communicated and it has been withdrawn. We support and respect all sections of the society.”
Read full press release here:
UPDATE: Hema Malini has commented on the withdrawn ad. The MP, however, does not mention how and why she approved the use of her image for the ad.