The original tweet, considered by many as misogynistic and inappropriate, was deleted by the fast food company after gaining over half a million likes.
Burger King, usually championing provocative or sarcastic adverts, sparked massive outrage and raised many eyebrows in its recent attempt to promote scholarship for female chefs by tweeting “Women belong in the kitchen”… on International Women’s Day on Monday.
Even though the thread continued with the phrase “If they want to, of course”, it did not save the fast food giant from a massive wave of condemnation that resulted in Burger King deleting the tweet and issuing an apology.
“We hear you. We got our initial tweet wrong and we’re sorry. Our aim was to draw attention to the fact that only 20% of professional chefs in UK kitchens are women and to help change that by awarding culinary scholarships. We will do better next time”, the UK branch of the brand tweeted.
The provocative tweet was blasted as misogynistic and particularly inappropriate given the fact that it was posted on International Women’s Day. Even the apology did not seem to improve the situation for many netizens.
“Mr King of the Burger, can we get equal pay?”
Burger King: pic.twitter.com/vQ8FVTWayC
— CoffeeMaestro (@coffeemaestro_) March 8, 2021
Burger King’s social media manager pic.twitter.com/zBvPnpYuVt
— marj 🍳 (@cydoniasands) March 8, 2021
burger king uk be like pic.twitter.com/MvEoWSYLk7
— local woman ruins everything (@anyothersky) March 8, 2021
would read an oral history on wtf burger king was thinking
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) March 8, 2021
Not everyone, however, was eager to condemn Burger King for the punchline, arguing that it was not a bad way to draw attention to women’s rights in the given industry.
You don’t need to be sorry. I’m actually embarrassed you had to publicly apologise. The thread was clear and obvious. 80% of chefs in the industry are male. That needs changing. Women need more of a chance. So yes they DO belong in the kitchen. Working in a kitchen if they wish.
— ♕J♕ (@IcyHiccup) March 8, 2021
Don’t apologize for people that can’t read past the first tweet
— ItalianBoy69 (@TrainBoy227) March 8, 2021
Others took their chance to roll out a great deal of memes and jokes.
burger king: pic.twitter.com/m6Y5tOEeJ7
— dollar store philip seymour hoffman 🎬 (@dshvndvr) March 8, 2021
you guys will not guess what i just did during my burger king PR internship LMAOOOOOOOOOOO
— myesha thee stallion (@myeshachou) March 8, 2021
Particularly, people reacted to a popular suggestion that the fast food giant could rebrand itself as “Burger Queen” to redeem itself for the “kitchen” tweet.
Burger King will never change its name to Burger Queen, because then they’ll be expected to work twice as hard for half the pay while pretending sexual harassment doesn’t exist.
— Joshua Gale (@joshuafett75) March 9, 2021
Others mocked Burger King for a purported attempt to defend the provocative thread.
this u? pic.twitter.com/DwcmtZ4cik
— BadBoyHalo says owo and uwu (@BBHSaysOwo) March 8, 2021
According to a Burger King statement released after the scandal, the HER (Helping Equalize Restaurants) Scholarship program has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships in North America.
“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 statement read, cited by ABC.