A provocative post from Burger King’s official UK Twitter account on International Women’s Day has sparked uproar.
The fast food chain faced a grilling from the Twittersphere - and beyond - when it Tweeted “Women belong in the kitchen” on 8 March 2021.
Users on the social media website have not held back in their disapproval of the Tweet’s wording - and its timing on IWD 2021.
Here’s why Burger King posted the Tweet, the fallout and the company’s response explained.
Why did Burger King post ‘Women belong in the kitchen’?
The Tweet was part of an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the gender ratio among chefs, in which the company claims “only 20% of chefs are women”.
In a series of subsequent Tweets, Burger King highlighted the lack of female chefs in the restaurant business and wanted to do something about the disparity.
A follow up Tweet read: “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.”
The company then brought attention to its scholarship programme for female employees to “pursue their culinary dreams” - but the damage had already been done.
What has been the reaction to Burger King’s Tweet?
Burger King’s Tweet was seemingly designed to provoke a response, while bringing attention to its scholarship programme, but the campaign has backfired.
One Twitter user said: “Please don’t use sexism as clickbait.”
Another added: "There’s better ways to draw attention to something that don’t include using the most sexist trope ever."
Questions were raised at how the wording of the Tweet made it through the different stages of management before it was given the green light.
While one Twitter user outlined that it wasn’t just a Tweet but an international campaign approved by the company, displaying a photo of a full page advert in the New York Times.
And, although the Tweet has since been deleted, one user commented that “we’ll never forget #youhadtobethere” alongside a screen grab of the original Burger King UK post.
Has Burger King apologised?
At first, Burger King attempted to defend its campaign and bring the focus back to the unbalanced ratio of women working in the UK restaurant industry.
But, as more and more people were angered by the Tweet, the company issued an apology before deleting the post altogether (not before it had been shared countless times).
"We hear you. We got our initial Tweet wrong and we're sorry,” read a follow up post on Twitter.
“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.
“We decided to delete the original Tweet after our apology. 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.”