To celebrate International Women’s Day, Burger King UK tweeted the following:
Women belong in the kitchen.
— Burger King (@BurgerKingUK) March 8, 2021
The tweet from the fast food giant was meant to highlight the lack of female chefs in the restaurant business, which is an important issue. But removed from any additional context, it came across as tone-deaf and sexist. “If they want to, of course,” the thread continued. “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. We are proud to be launching a new scholarship programme which will help female Burger King employees pursue their culinary dreams!”
But you wouldn’t know that from the “women belong in the kitchen” tweet (100,000+ retweets and counting) — the full-page ad in the New York Times is only slightly clearer.
As AdWeek notes, “The print ad quickly makes it apparent that the headline is being used ironically, as the message continues: ‘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.’ However, the same campaign, created by agency David Miami, was repurposed into a series of tweets via the @BurgerKingUK Twitter account, where the full context wasn’t quite as obvious.”
A lot of bad choices were made here, but the most bizarre is that it could have been one tweet:
Proof this could have even fit in one tweet
Please don't use sexism as clickbait. The men in my mentions proves the damage you're causing by doing this. pic.twitter.com/G0VKGgiZQp
— Becca (@BeccaBeckery) March 8, 2021
When a Twitter user pointed out that “somebody working at Burger King really looked at this and thought it was a good idea,” the account replied, “To bring attention to the huge lack of female representation in the restaurant industry? Yeah, we think it’s a good idea, that’s why we’ve created a scholarship to help give more of our female employees the chance to pursue a culinary career.” Maybe start there, not with a sexist trope, next time.
The Wendy’s roast is coming.
Burger King thought they were on Xbox live for a minute https://t.co/EYL18Tgnn5
— Charlie (@MoistCr1TiKaL) March 8, 2021
burger king uk account shoulda just dropped a "burger queen when"
— Bront (@bmrow) March 8, 2021
What’s cool about this series of tweets from @burgerkinguk is that the top one that simply says “women belong in the kitchen” has 143,000 retweets, the majority of which are from extremely excited fash accounts, while the next two tweets don’t even have a tenth as much engagement pic.twitter.com/VoYDDyN2HY
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) March 8, 2021
I get that you were using this comment as bait for a larger conversation to actually empower women. But listen to all the women telling you that using a sexist comment as bait isn’t cool. This was the first tweet I saw on international woman’s day.
— Michelle Guido (@heyyguido) March 8, 2021
using misogyny as clickbait is one of the worst things you could do on international women's day https://t.co/zkfGcTE0Ur
— upsil 💚 (@upsilonium) March 8, 2021
Burger King belongs in a trashcan.
— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) March 8, 2021
everyone: happy international women’s da—
burger king: —we have the PERFECT joke pic.twitter.com/ohqN7wqWDa
— slate (@PleaseBeGneiss) March 8, 2021
Just walked past a Burger King and people are lined up around the block waiting for a chance to buy whopper juniors because of their tweet. Marketing 101 folks
— Justin Whang 🐙 (@JustinWhang) March 8, 2021
me and the handmaids going to burger king on international women’s day xx pic.twitter.com/pb7FnPMHkO
— Ceecal (@Ceeccal) March 8, 2021
Burger King can i see you in my office please https://t.co/3zdok9kt0k
— blaine capatch (@blainecapatch) March 8, 2021
What a bad week for the royals.