Water brand Evian created a storm after its social media post sparked a backlash for apparently offending Muslims observing Ramadan.
On Tuesday, when the faithful were marking the start of a month-long fast between the hours of sunrise and sunset, the Danone subsidiary brand posted a message on its French Twitter page that read: "Retweet if you have already drunk a litre of Evian today."
The message generated an angry response from some users who found it thoughtless and insensitive. “Worst timing,” wrote one person, responding to the post that was retweeted more than 5,000 times in one day.
“There are millions of us fasting in France, right?” another said. There are more than five million Muslims living in France, the second-largest religious group in the country.
Users asked why the mineral water brand decided on the tweet that day, with some accusing Evian of racism and religious insensitivity.
However, other users defended the brand, pointing out how it posts regular statements and questions about water consumption on its Twitter feed.
Its previous tweets never attracted this level of attention, with most barely surpassing double digits in retweets or likes.
A few hours after the message was posted the brand apologised, calling the original post clumsy. Evian said the tweet was not meant to cause offence.