The post promoted Kent’s atta and bread maker, implying that domestic workers’ hands may be infected in the context of COVID-19.

Kent atta and dought maker discriminatory and classist ad
news Controversy Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 14:05

Since Tuesday, screenshots of a post of Kent, which makes a variety of products including water purifiers and kitchen appliances, have been doing the rounds on social media. The post in question advertises the company’s atta and bread maker, and has drawn widespread criticism for its classist and casteist overtones.

The post, which now appears to be hidden, promoted Kent's atta and bread maker. It featured three images, the first two showing a pair of hands kneading dough. The caption above the first image reads, "Are you allowing your maid to knead atta dough by hand?" while the second says, "Her hands may be infected." Below the post, the company had written, "Choose KENT Atta & Bread Maker for hands-free kneading of dough. Let automation take care of hygiene this time!"

The discriminatory overtones of the message were not missed as many on social media criticised the brand, which is incidentally endorsed by Rajya Sabha MP Hema Malini. While some people called Kent out for the discriminatory and classist ideology of the post, others also tweeted the screenshots with the hashtag #BoycottKent.

Kent issued an apology for the same on its social media pages on Wednesday.

In a press release by Kent, the statement read:

"Our recent advertisement of Kent Atta & Bread Maker on social media was unintentional, badly communicated and was wrong. And therefore, it was immediately withdrawn. We are extremely sorry for this incident and want to apologise to everyone, especially to the people whose sentiments were hurt.

The advertisement is contrary to the beliefs and professional standards of Kent. We will investigate how our advertisement standards were compromised and we will further take corrective and preventive action so that such incidents are not repeated in future.
We once again re-iterate that we support and respect all sections of the society and apologize for the mistake."

The post itself, the screenshots of which were from Instagram, appears to have been hidden by Kent after the criticism started pouring in. TNM has seen the post in question. The product itself is not new, and there are other posts on Kent RO System’s Instagram page about the atta and bread maker.

Here is what people said after the screenshots started being shared widely. 

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