Burger King is getting grilled by Internet users after rolling out an International Women’s Day campaign on social media, anchored by the idea that “women belong in the kitchen.”
The campaign aimed to promote a new culinary scholarship for its female employees, with the goal of addressing a gender gap among chefs in the restaurant industry.
“Women belong in the kitchen,” the company wrote in a series of Tweets. “If they want to, of course. Yet only 20% of chefs are women. We’re on a mission to change the gender ratio in the restaurant industry by empowering female employees with the opportunity to pursue a culinary career.”
Though perhaps a well-intended way to promote its new scholarship, the Monday social media posts seem to have garnered more pushback than praise. The original tweet came from the company’s UK operations.
KFC Gaming — yes, the fried chicken fast-food business has a mysterious gaming arm — replied to the Burger King tweet with a meme saying “the best time to delete this post was immediately after posting it. The second best time is now.”
Burger King responded to KFC Gaming by asking, “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? We’ve launched a scholarship to help give more of our female employees the chance to pursue a culinary career.”
Still, some Internet users were disappointed that Burger King’s initial post was a sexist phrase, even if it was used as a tongue-in-cheek way to promote a scholarship. The initial post has been retweeted more than 270,000 times as of Monday afternoon, and without a user clicking on the thread, they only see the first tweet — not the scholarship information.
In a statement to the Globe, Burger King said “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 scholarship — called Burger King H.E.R., or Helping Equalize Restaurants — is intended to help the company’s female team members who are interested in or pursuing a degree in culinary arts.
Comedian Chelsea Peretti replied in a Twitter thread, making light of Burger King’s logic. She wrote in a series of tweets that “Burger King belongs in a trashcan. Because its not good food. And I say this as someone who enjoys other fast food. I want progress in fast food quality! So this is a positive thread!”
Burger King belongs in a trashcan.
— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) March 8, 2021