Muhammad drinks promo fallout: Holywings says fate of 3,000 employees may be on the line amid pressure to close

A screen capture of a free drinks promo for men named Muhammad and women named Maria by popular Indonesian nightlife establishments chain Holywings.
A screen capture of a free drinks promo for men named Muhammad and women named Maria by popular Indonesian nightlife establishments chain Holywings.

An on-the-ropes Holywings is asking for sympathy from the public amid increasing calls for the permanent shutdown of its business, as the popular chain of nightlife establishments continues to deal with the fallout from an allegedly blasphemous drinks promo.

Related — This free drinks for Muhammad promo didn’t go down well in Indonesia

On a promotional social media post last week, Holywings promised a bottle of gin for men named Muhammad and for women named Maria every Thursday. The post sparked intense religious outrage in the Muslim-majority nation, prompting the arrest of six employees management said had acted independently and were thus solely responsible for creating and posting the promo. 

On Sunday, the chain posted another apology while further stressing that the blame lies with the six suspects.

“We ask for prayers and support from the people of Indonesia so that this issue can be resolved in accordance with the law, for the continuity of more than 3,000 Holywings Indonesia employees and their families who depend on this company,” a part of the post reads.

“Right now the six responsible individuals are in detention, and they are being processed legally in the hands of the police.”

Celebrity lawyer Hotman Paris, who is known to be a major shareholder of Holywings and in some ways synonymous with the chain, also made the same argument in his apology for the controversy.

“From the 3,000 [employees], around 2,850 are Muslims. As an investor, I certainly wouldn’t have allowed [the promo to be published] because Hotman is a son of Indonesia who is a Christian but has a closeness with Islam,” he said, using illeism, yesterday.

Among those calling for the permanent closure of Holywings is GP Ansor, the youth wing of the largest Indonesian Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).

“GP Ansor’s Jakarta chapter will continue to demand the operational closure of Holywings throughout Jakarta,” the group said in a statement today.

A Holywings venue in Surabaya has been closed until further notice amid pressure from the city’s chapter of GP Ansor. Another Holywings in Makassar is also closed until further notice amid pressure from another youth group.

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