Angostura Limited confirmed that it took down a recent advertisement for its Angostura Tamboo rum which was the subject of outcry by the Hindu community due to its use of religious imagery. It said if the ad is found to have been inappropriate use of imagery, an official apology will be issued from the Angostura Tamboo Instagram page where the post originated.
According to Pundit Satyanand Maharaj, spiritual head of the Satya Anand Ashram in Aranguez, the ad clearly showed the hands and flute of Lord Krishna, a well-known Hindu symbol. He said the image was sent to him on Monday morning but when he checked the brand’s Instagram page later in the day, it had been removed.
“I wouldn’t doubt that they moved very judiciously to remove it, that would help them to negate any type of apology.
“The imagery is clearly of the type that Lord Krishna uses when he plays the flute, the position of the fingers and everything else, even the colour blue, they could have chosen any other colour, but Krishna is considered blue, different hues of blue, and so the similarity in it is just too similar to not have Hindu undertones in it.
Maharaj called for a retraction of the ad, an apology, and the firing of the person or persons involved.
“We continue to be offended that these conglomerates, quite apart from encouraging the singing of rum songs, now feel that our deities are fair game to be used in selling rum. This rears its ugly head ever so often in TT and nobody is brought to book and nobody has to pay for these transgressions. Our religion is a living religion and we make up 22 per cent of the population, Indians make up 50 per cent of the population, all we ask is that our religious sensibilities be considered when doing these things. Apparently they need somebody with cultural and religious training to help them vet some of their work.”
In an email response to Newsday, Angostura said the ad was posted on its Tamboo brand page on Instagram, which is managed by an external third-party agency.
“Upon learning that the ad had the potential to offend the religious group, Angostura immediately requested that it be removed from the Instagram page, as it was never our intention to disrespect a valued community. We will continue to strive to educate all associated parties on matters related to our national religious and cultural identity.”