New York: Boston-headquartered online home giant Wayfair has apologized and removed its beach-towel carrying an image of the Hindu deity Lord Ganesha within an hour of protesting Hindus contacting it, calling it “highly inappropriate.”
Jane Carpenter, global head of Communications of Wayfair, in an email to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, wrote: “Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We appreciate your feedback and have taken immediate steps to remove the products from site. Please accept our sincere apology,” according to a press release.
Zed, who is the Indian American president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada thanked Wayfair for understanding the concerns of the Hindu community, which thought that placing the image of Lord Ganesh on a beach-towel was disrespectful.
Zed suggested that companies like Wayfair should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.
Wayfair, incidentally, is co-founded by an Indian American entrepreneur, Nirav Shah.
Zed had said that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines and not for wiping various parts of your body.
Zed was also seeking the removal of hand-towels displaying images of Hindu deities Lord Shiva and goddess Lakshmi (both described as great to use in bathroom or gym) for similar reasons, which also seemed to have been removed. Moreover, the picture of the beach-towel (earlier posted on the website) showed flip-flops over the image of Lord Ganesha, which was quite insensitive, Zed had indicated.
Zed over the years has had several merchants and online retailers remove products that have carried images of various Hindu deities.