Flipkart has apologised to the Gorkha community for hurting their sentiments in its recently launched ad for Flipkart Assured.
This came after the members of the Gorkha community filed a petition against the company in Delhi court to stop airing the TV ad. Also, Flipkart was accused of not responding to their pleas earlier.
The company then made an apology on its official blog.
As mentioned in the post,
We are aware that we may have unintentionally hurt the sentiments of our Gorkha brothers and sisters through the depiction of one of the characters in the advertisement, namely the security guard.
The chaos is not new as Bollywood has always been accused of featuring the Gorkha community members majorly in the role of ‘watchman’. Flipkart just got added to the list of offenders.
The advertisement shows two kids enrolled as watchmen, where one wore the traditional Bhadgauley Topi, a hat that the Gorkhas wear. Also, the character uses Khukuri insignia (a kind of knife), and the tone of voice which sounds as saheb Ji and madam ji. All these issues are said to be the reason for the angst of the Gorkha community.
Over the last week we have diligently pored over every comment and post on social and offline channels and discussed the issue with our customers to understand their concerns in depth. While most agreed to the freedom of creative expression and choice of characters, we discovered that the primary angst arose from the use of the Khukuri insignia (a respected and cherished symbol of pride and valour), and the tone of voice used by the character.
By saying this, the company also put forward the point (although in an indirect manner) that they have the independence to have freedom of creative expression and choice of characters.
The conciliatory blog post is full of praise for the Gorkha Community.
“We’re proud of and grateful to the Gorkha community. They symbolise valour, reliability, integrity and loyalty. Many members of the Gorkha community continue to represent our nation in the highest echelons of their chosen fields – be it administration, sports, defense, academics, entertainment, etc. Some of them have also chosen this profession of a security guard.
A security guard is someone we trust with our life. Every day. We trust our security guards to let the right people into our homes. We trust them with our children’s safety when they’re outdoors. We trust them to ensure that we sleep safe every night. The campaign drew from these codes of assurance to drive the key proposition of Flipkart Assured. It is with this intent that the character which the child portrayed was chosen to play the part.”
Apparently, Flipkart has updated the advertisement to remove the depiction of the Khukuri and suitably changed the voices of the characters. “The films have been uploaded on our social channels and will be progressively updated across all other channels in next few days,” says the blog post.