A day after a Chennai-based interior work company was slammed for a casteist advertisement in a local newspaper, the company has apologised, stating it was 'human error'. On Saturday, Acor, an interior design company based in the city, had placed an advertisement in Adyar Talk, a neighbourhood newspaper, seeking to fill three vacancies for the title of ‘General Manager’: Projects, Sales and Administration.
In blatant casteism, the advertisement specified in brackets 'Brahmins Only'. The call for only Brahmin candidates to apply for the job provoked outrage online, with many pointing out that discrimination on the basis of caste was unconstitutional and indeed illegal.
A day later, the company apologised, stating that they had meant 'pure vegetarian' as opposed to 'Brahmins Only'.
Following the backlash, the company initially published a clarification on its Facebook page on Sunday, stating, “Hope everyone is understanding! We meant Pure vegetarian and the media guy wrote 'Only Brahmins' so let’s get that out of the way.”
An accompanying screenshot read, “Recently, we gave an ad for hiring people for our company, in a local newspaper. Due to some human error, there have been on-going issues on Facebook. Apologising for the mistake.”
The clarification, however, only made it amply clear that the eating habit sought in the post of General Manager was a caste marker for seeking Brahmins. The company then edited this post, ‘updating’ it to an ‘apology’
The company wrote, "Hello, As originally mentioned it was a Human Error. We are an international brand with multiple offices in China, Europe and India. Actions will be taken on the HR department for this. A request has been put to our CEO, Sorry for the mistake."(sic)
However, many were unconvinced by the apology, for what seemed like a deliberate specification that the company seemed to have wanted. The comments to the company's apology post also saw many calling for a boycott.
One user wrote, "You guys are shamelessly discriminating between veg and non-veg. 70% of India is non-vegetarian. Of course, you did casteism first. This is against the constitution and you may face court proceedings."
Another user wrote, “I had no idea how bad institutional racism in India was until I saw your ad. I understand now why the place is so f***ed up. It's because of people like this company...”