A day after Twitter was up in arms against carmaker Hyundai and the hashtag #boycottHyundai went viral, fast food service chains KFC and Pizza Hut are now at the receiving end of the ire of Twitter users.
Here’s a look at what happened and why #boycottKFC and #boycottPizzahut became the most discussed topics on the social networking site.
KFC and Pizza Hut draw ire
Both the quick service retail chains’ operations in Pakistan put up posters expressing support on 'Kashmir Solidarity Day' (5 February).
In the post, one can see KFC is supporting Kashmir Solidarity Day and the freedom of Kashmiris from India. "We stand together this Kashmir Solidarity Day, to realize their right to freedom,” read the caption written by KFC.
The company also shared a poster depicting the western Himalayas. The poster added, ”Their cravings for freedom are heartfelt.”
Similarly, an Instagram post from the verified account of 'Pizzahutpak' had said, "We stand with you. Kashmir Solidarity Day."
'Not so finger lickin' good'
Indian Twitter users seeing the posts put up by the global brands saw red and quickly calls to boycott the brands went viral on Twitter.
— Vikram Rana (@Vikramranachd) February 7, 2022
— Skarma Norboo (@SkarmaNorboo) February 7, 2022
— NIKHIL KASHYAP 🐄 (@Nikhilattacks) February 7, 2022
— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) February 7, 2022
— Vinod Rao (@VinodRaoji) February 7, 2022
Seeing the flood of tweets calling for a boycott, KFC apologised for the post from its Pakistan-based franchise supporting separatists in Kashmir.
Pizza Hut also issued a statement saying "it does not condone, support or agree with the contents of a post circulating in social media" after facing backlash over an Instagram post on Kashmir by its official handle in Pakistan.
"We deeply apologise for a post that was published on some KFC social media channels outside the country. We honour and respect India, and remain steadfast in our commitment to serving all Indians with pride," according to a message on KFC India official account on Twitter.
Pizza Hut, in its statement, said, "It does not condone, support or agree with the contents of a post circulating in social media. We remain steadfast in our commitment to serve all our brothers and sisters with pride."
The social media posts have been deleted since the controversy erupted.
Hyundai faces ire
The incident follows a similar backlash that Hyundai Motors faced on Sunday on social media after a dealer in Pakistan posted a message supporting separatists in Kashmir.
A Twitter account of a Hyundai dealer in Pakistan with the handle @hyundaiPakistanOfficial had posted a message supporting Kashmir Solidarity day, supporting what it called a "struggle for freedom".
Following the post, #BoycottHyundai trended on Twitter in India with many users asking people to stop buying the company's products in the country.
On Sunday, Hyundai Motors India put out a message on social media reiterating its commitment to the Indian market.
With inputs from agencies