A new print campaign for German sportswear brand Puma has managed to offend almost a billion Hindus, Indians and the odd librarian, too.
The campaign again stars American singer/actress Selena Gomez who’s been an ambassador for the brand since September 2017.
The seemingly innocuous looking ads for Puma’s SG x PUMA AW19 Fall/ Winter 2019 collection features the 27-year-old Gomez in blue sports gear standing in a library. As you do for sportswear campaigns.
In one of the images Gomez is seen standing on a a pile of books.
So, why all the outrage? Well, according to Hindus, books are something to be revered and the ads – now circulating on social media to a lot of negative comments – are a “flagrant disrespect” for “mercantile greed”.
In a statement sent to B&T, the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, said: “Books commanded immense respect among Hindus who saw reflection of Goddess Sarasvati in the books. [The images are] highly insensitive.”
The campaign’s also not gone down well in India, home to some 966 million Hindus.
Angry Indians have taken to social media to slam the campaign and Gomez’s apparent disrespect and, worse, claim she’s probably now “cursed” by Goddess Sarasvati herself.
Check out some of the social media hate below. As yet, Puma or Gomez have not commented on the backlash.