KitchenAid apologizes for tweet about Obama's grandmother

A tweet inadvertently sent from KitchenAid's Twitter feed last night forces the maker of kitchen appliances into damage control mode.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

A tweet insulting the president and his late grandmother has gotten kitchen appliance maker KitchenAid in hot water.

During the presidential debates last night, someone posted a tweet using the official KitchenAid USA account that read: "Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! 'She died 3 days b4 he became president'."

KitchenAid took down the tweet as fast as possible. But it had already quickly spread after being sent to the company's 25,000 followers and including the hash tag #nbcpolitics, an account used by NBC News to tweet about the debate.

Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham, passed away on November 2, 2008, just two days before her grandson was elected president. Obama made a reference to his grandmother at last night's debate.

Cynthia Soledad, KitchenAid's senior director, has been active on Twitter this morning trying to clean up the damage.

In one tweet, she said that "I would like to personally apologize to President @BarackObama, his family and everyone on Twitter for the offensive tweet sent earlier." In another, she said the offensive tweet was "carelessly sent in error by a member of our Twitter team who, needless to say, won't be tweeting for us anymore."

And though the tweet was sent out by an employee, Soledad said in another tweet that "I take full responsibility for my team." She also reached out to different press outlets, offering her e-mail address and an opportunity to "talk on record about what happened."

A representative for KitchenAid sent CNET the following statement from Soledad:

During the debate last night, a member of our Twitter team mistakenly posted an offensive tweet from the KitchenAid handle instead of a personal handle. This tasteless joke in no way represents our values at KitchenAid. This person will no longer be tweeting for us and appropriate actions are being taken. That said, I lead the KitchenAid brand, and I take responsibility for the whole team. I am deeply sorry to President Obama, his family, and our consumers for this careless error.

Update, 9 a.m. PT: Adds response from KitchenAid.