Fortune Apologizes for International Issue Depicting Jeff Bezos as Hindu Deity

Posted: Friday, January 15, 2016 10:45 am | Updated: 10:46 am, Fri Jan 15, 2016.

Fortune has issued an apology for an illustration on the cover of its January international edition which depicted chief executive officer Jeff Bezos as a Hindu deity. Fortune’s editor Alan Murray made the apology Jan. 12 on the magazine’s website. “Neither the artist nor the editors of Fortune had any intention of parodying a particular deity or of offending members of the Hindu faith,” Murray said.
“It is clear that we erred and for that, we apologize.” Bezos, illustrated by Sydney, Australia-based Nigel Buchanan in the cover headlined “Amazon Invades India,” appeared in the likeness of Lord Vishnu, upsetting many Hindus, according to Rajan Zed, a Hindu statesman and president of the Universal Society of Hinduism. Spearheading the protest campaign on the Bezos illustration, Zed said it trivialized their venerated deity. The Indian American activist felt the image was an unnecessary denigrating of a Hindu deity and urged an apology.
Zed, in a Jan. 13 statement, said Fortune and other media companies worldwide should send their senior executives and editors for training in religious and cultural sensitivity to understand the feelings of the customers and communities.
He added that “Hindus understood that the purpose of Fortune in this case apparently was not to denigrate Hinduism, but casual flirting like this sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees.” Of Lord Vishnu, Zed continued, saying he was a “highly revered major deity in Hinduism meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used indecorously or thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects.” “No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at,” he added. He later thanked Fortune and Murray for coming forward with the apology.