London [UK]: Fast-food chain Burger King’s United Kingdom division sparked an outcry on Monday as critics accused the brand of using a sexist trope as a clickbait.
Burger King sparked an uproar with a tweet that read, “Women belong in the kitchen” on International Women’s Day.
According to The Washington Post, the Burger King Foundation, the company’s United States-based nonprofit arm published a full-page ad with similar language in Monday’s print edition of the New York Times.
“Women belong in the kitchen” was bolded in large font that took up much of the ad’s above-the-fold space.
“Fine dining kitchens, food truck kitchens, award-winning kitchens, casual dining kitchens, ghost kitchens, Burger King kitchens. If there’s a professional kitchen, women belong there,” the ad continued as quoted by The Post.
“But can you guess who’s leading those kitchens these days? Exactly. Only 24% of chef positions in America are occupied by women. Want to talk head chefs? The number drops to fewer than 7 per cent,” it added.
The Post further reported that the Burger King Foundation’s HER. (Helping Equalize Restaurants) The scholarship will grant USD 25,000 apiece to two current female employees.
Employees must be employed by Burger King or a franchisee, have plans to enroll in an accredited two- or four-year culinary program or university in the US during the 2022-23 academic year, have a high school diploma or GED, and demonstrate financial need and substantial work experience, according to the foundation’s website.
The foundation will establish similar programs in the United Kingdom and Mexico, Burger King spokeswoman Adrianna Lauricella said in an email.
“We are committed to helping women break through a male-dominated culinary culture in the world’s fine dining restaurants — and sometimes that requires drawing attention to the problem we’re trying to help fix,” Lauricella said.
“Our tweet in the UK today was designed to draw attention to the fact that only a small percentage of chefs and head chefs are women. It was our mistake to not include the full explanation in our initial tweet and have adjusted our activity moving forward because we’re sure that when people read the entirety of our commitment, they will share our belief in this important opportunity,” the spokeswoman added.
KFC Gaming tweeted a meme in response to Burger King UK with the caption: “The best time to delete this post was immediately after posting it. The second best time is now.”
But Burger King UK rejected the idea. “Why would we delete a tweet that’s drawing attention to a huge lack of female representation in our industry, we thought you’d be on board with this as well?” it tweeted. “We’ve launched a scholarship to help give more of our female employees the chance to pursue a culinary career.”
As of now, the original tweet has been deleted.
“It was brought to our attention that there were abusive comments in the thread and we don’t want to leave the space open for that,” the UK chain said.
Social media users were quick to jump in and criticised the move of deleting the tweet stating ath deleting “does not fix anything”.
However, some hailed the said tweet as a “brilliant marketing” strategy. They even called to “bring back the tweet”.