Fortune magazine has issued an apology for the cover of its latest issue depicted Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as Lord Vishnu, complete with a lotus in one hand and the Amazon logo on the palm of the other.
The cover story, titled "Amazon Takes India," reported on how Bezos and a specialised team in India were looking to tackle the next "trillion-dollar market." The art was created by Nigel Buchanan, an Australian illustrator who also works for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Time.
"The cover of Fortune's January 2016 international edition featured an illustration of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as a Hindu deity," Fortune's editor Alan Murray was quoted as saying by Business Insider.
"Neither the artist nor the editors of Fortune had any intention of parodying a particular deity or of offending members of the Hindu faith. It is clear that we erred and for that, we apologize," he said.
The president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, was one of the loudest voices to criticize Fortune for the cover. In a statement, Fortune thanked him and agreed that the cover was wrong.
Zed asked Fortune, and other media companies, to immerse themselves in Hinduism and argued that no religion should be ridiculed, no matter how small.
"Lord Vishnu 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 re-imagined versions for dramatic effect," he said.
Anil Dash, an entrepreneur and prominent member of the technology community, also tweeted criticism of the cover.