Cigar news you can use: Controversy hits Gurkha cigars

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Kaizad Hansotia from Gurkha in hot water

by Ministry of Cigars

Kaizad Hansotia from Gurkha in hot water. The flamboyant Gurkha Cigars owner is an outspoken supporter of President Trump. His Facebook timeline was full of links and memes with support for the president. But Hansotia deleted his Facebook after creating an uproar within the online cigar community.

Black lives matter

In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, Hansotia went to Facebook and posted “why do black lives only matter when killed by whites. Shouldn’t their lives matter when killed by other black people too.”. To add insult to injury, Hansotia than shared a meme by the apparel brand Heroic Outfitters about George Floyd’s criminal past. Heroic Outfitters Facebook page, by the way, is filled with right-winged memes and rhetorics.

Ministry of Cigars - Kaizad Hantosia from Gurkha in hot water
Ministry of Cigars - Kaizad Hantosia from Gurkha in hot water

Screenshots from Hansotia’s Facebook posts were shared in many of the Facebook cigar groups. That caused public outrage. Hansotia’s Facebook page is no longer visible.

Call to boycott

The Krimson Society, a membership society exclusive to the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi, called for a boycott of Gurkha, amongst other companies that shared the same rhetorics.

“It makes no sense to recount the series of tragic events that have placed our country in another moment of racial tension and upheaval. From Amaud Abuery, Brionna Taylor to George Floyd. The events that we have borne witness to continue to serve as a sobering reminder of the work we as Americans must continue to do to value and improve the lives of its Black citizens. With that said, there are still those companies and individuals, who have stated their vocal opposition to such efforts. This has been exemplified in instances of several cigar and spirits companies and owners publishing racially insensitive and inflammatory social media posts. We, the Krimson Society, say enough is enough.

Let it be known that the Krimson Society, comprised of a membership of 20,000 African American and Latino men, representing every profession including cigar lounges, retail stores, liquor stores, bars, and restaurants; will be boycotting all cigar lines and spirits brands that promote such racial insensitivity. In addition, we will be taking the following actions:

1. Mobilizing with all African American cigar and spirit societies throughout the country to create a national boycott list.

2. Sending letters to all major cigar distributors, retailers, and lounges and liquor distributors, in areas with a significant African American demographic, to discontinue sales of your products.

3. Send press releases to all trade and news media on social media posts found to be racially inflammatory.

We will begin the process to take these three actions effective immediately.

To be clear, no product is worth sacrificing the value and meaning of life. None. Therefore, to all companies that are either openly defiant or disrespectful to the current movement at hand, we say to you: If our Black Lives do not matter to you then your products do not matter to us.

PS: @gurkhacigars #americanbarrels you are both officially put on notice

The Krimson Society on Instagram

Ministry of Cigars - Kaizad Hansotia from Gurkha in hot water

It is without a doubt that Gurkha Cigars will hurt. A large part of the cigar community will now boycott the brand. And not only cigar smokers, but many tobacconists, especially the black-owned retailers will stop supporting Gurkha.

Gurkha’s response

The official Gurkha Facebook page stated a message “To our Gurkha Nation: Kaizad Hansotia, owner of Gurkha Cigars, had erroneous posts on his private Facebook account. We believe the account was hacked, and it has since been deleted. The posts made in no way reflect the beliefs of this company.” Considering the fact that Hansotia has been posting pro-President Trump memes, right-winged propaganda, and (often already debunked) conspiracy theories, this statement won’t be believed by many people. The comments underneath the message are pretty clear about that.

And even if the hacker story is true, Gurkha should have come with a stronger statement, supporting the black community in their fight for equality and a fair justice system. To Gurkha, we would like to say #blacklivesmatter. As a result of Hansotia’s comments and Gurkha’s weak response, Ministry of Cigars has decided to pull the scheduled Gurkha Marquesa review that was planned for next week. Until Hansotia and Gurkha own up to their actions, no other Gurkha cigars will be reviewed.

2 comments

  1. As a white Jewish man who has been blogging about cigars for years, I stand behind The Krimson Society and Ministry of Cigars. I will not be writing about nor buying any Gurkha cigars. I find racism in any form disgusting, and I find anyone who tries to justify the lynching of a black man by saying ‘…well Black people kill other Black people, so what’s the big deal when a White man kills one?’ to be morally reprehensible.

    Had Gurkha immediately taken responsibility and said something to the effect that “…this was a terribly racist post by our CEO, and based on that our Board of Directors has decided to terminate his employment effective immediately” then there might have been some wiggle room. However, anyone who looks at the past posts can easily see that the ‘…the account may have been hacked’ line is crap, and that the company cares about your money, not your rights as human beings.

    1. As a followup, I concur that Gurkha and their minions tried to hide the racist message that was attributed to the CEO.
      My point is far too often the ones who will now bear the brunt of a boycott are the day to day folks who just happen to work for a company that basically tried to look the other way to make a buck.
      I am also Jewish , my parents were Holocaust survivors who escaped Nazism by fleeing Germany and settling in Japan and China during the war. They were driven out of their native land by pure hate.
      There were 20,000 Jews who survived by fleeing to Shanghai and this part of history that very few people are aware of.

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