Companies are fast realizing that pandering to woke far-left extremists isn’t quite the path to business success in today’s India.
Indian consumers are uninstalling Zomato’s app en masse after the company appeared to cave to far-left propagandist Swara Bhasker’s call to stop advertising on Republic. “Hey Zomato, I’m your regular customer.. do u plan to #DefundTheHate & pull your ads from hate espousing channels like @Republic_Bharat ? I’m not okay with my money even indirectly funding this kind of communal bigoted hate! Pls let your consumers know..” she tweeted.
Zomato at this point responded to Swara Bhasker, saying that it was “looking into the matter.” “Hi Swara, please note, we don’t endorse any content except our own. That being said, we are looking into this,” the company tweeted from its official account.
This prompted a furious response from supporters of Republic, which is, by far, the most-watched news channel in India. People threatened to uninstall Zomato’s app if Zomato took their ads off Republic.
“India’s RW should boycott Zomato if they stop advertising on Republic,” wrote a twitter user.
“The large nationalistic & patriotic customer base of @zomato@zomatoin, who adores Arnab like anything and watches @republic@Republic_Bharat with passion, is also looking forward keenly as to what step Zomato will be taking..” wrote Twitter user @coolfunnyshirt.
Journalist Swati Goel Sharma said that she was deleting Zomato’s app for responding to an unreasonable demand by a person who fanned communal passions. Swara Bhasker had urged the people of Delhi to “hit the streets” durin the CAA protests, which had led to the deaths of 50 people in the Delhi riots.
OpIndia CEO Rahul Roushan even shared a video of him deleting the Zomato app.
Twitter user Indiantweets perhaps put it best: Hi @zomato either u are with Swara Bhaskar or the people of India. Choice is yours.
Other twitter users started sharing screenshots of them ordering on Zomato’s arch-rival Swiggy. “You choose Swara, we choose Swiggy. Deal,” wrote a Twitter user.
Some Twitter users even started the hashtag #SwitchToSwiggy
It’s unclear at the moment whether Zomato will actually take its ads off Republic. But the very mention of the company “looking into the matter” has already set off a firestorm of criticism online. Indian users will be watching carefully if Zomato caves in to a far-left propagandist like Swara Bhasker, and indeed pulls advertising off India’s number one channel. And if it does, as the current reaction shows, Zomato’s millions of users could suddenly end up finding its services hard to digest.