Healthcare products company Kent RO on Wednesday took down a controversial advertisement featuring its bread and atta maker, after outrage on social media over the content of the ad.

The advertisement discouraged people from allowing their house helps to knead dough. “Her hands may be infected,” it said, in a reference to the coronavirus, which is contagious. “Choose KENT Atta & Bread Maker for hands-free kneading of dough. Let automation take care of hygiene this time!” The company also asked people not to “compromise with health and purity”.

Following outrage, the company issued a statement apologising for the advertisement. “Please accept our sincere apologies for having published the Ad of Kent Atta & Bread Maker,” the company said in the statement issued on Twitter by its Chairperson Mahesh Gupta. “It was unintentional but wrongly communicated and it has been withdrawn. We support and respect all sections of the society.”

However, Kent RO did not clarify what it meant by saying that the advert was “unintentional but wrongly communicated”.

The advertisement featured actor and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Hema Malini and her daughter Esha Deol. Hema Malini is the brand ambassador for Kent RO. On Wednesday, she criticised the ad and distanced herself from it.

“Views expressed by the recent advertisement of Kent Atta by @KentROSystems do not resonate with my values and are inappropriate,” she tweeted. “The chairman has already tendered a public apology for the mistake. I hereby wish to put on record that I respect and stand by all sections of society.”