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KFC bot urges Germans to mark Kristallnacht with cheesy chicken

Tasteless food chain claims 'semi-automated' process skipped internal review process

US fast food chain KFC has apologized for a promotional message sent via its app that encouraged customers to commemorate Kristallnacht by ordering extra cheese on their chicken.

Kristallnacht was a pogrom carried out against Jewish Germans on the night of November 9, 1938, by Nazis. It takes its name from the shards of glass found in streets the next day that had been smashed out of windows in synagogues, Jewish businesses and other buildings owned by German Jews. 

More than 90 people were killed in the attacks, which are often considered the beginning of the Holocaust. 

Decidedly out of tone for such a somber day, the chicken chain said Wednesday: "Gedenktag an die Reichspogromnacht. Gönn dir ruhig mehr zarten cheese zum knusprigen chicken. Jetzt bei KFCheese!" ("It's memorial day for Kristallnacht. Treat yourself with more tender cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!"

German tabloid Bild, which shared screenshots of the offending push notification (in German), said that KFC apologized soon after with a second push notification that blamed an error in its system.

According to screenshots of KFC's apology shared on Twitter (automatically translated), the German arm of the US company apologized, saying it would check its internal processes to ensure the accident never happened again.

Daniel Sugarman, director of public affairs for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, shared the image of the apology, calling the affair "absolutely hideous." 

KFC responded to questions from Newsweek about the incident, saying it uses a semi-automated system to link calendars with days marked on the national calendar (not all of which can properly be described as holidays) to its content creation process. This time, KFC said, its internal review process wasn't followed, resulting in the offensive notification. 

"We have suspended app communications while we examine our current process to ensure such an issue does not occur again. We understand and respect the gravity and history of this day, and remain committed to equity, inclusion and belonging for all," KFC said. ®

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