Burger King thought it would be a good idea to joke about gender stereotypes about women on a day celebrating women's rights but its stunt backfired after the fast-food chain sparked outrage on social media with users calling it "sexist."
On Monday, Burger King UK posted a series of tweets to encourage employees to pursue a culinary career. "Women belong in the kitchen," the company's official handle tweeted out before following it up with a couple more posts clarifying that "only 20% of chefs are women."
In its tweets, the fast-food chain also included an announcement of a scholarship designed to offer financial assistance to women who work at Burger King and aspire to earn an academic degree in culinary arts.
The burger chain also published a similar ad headlined "Women belong in the kitchen" in the New York Times, as pointed out by Adweek. The seemingly sexist print ad was accompanied with the following message: "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."
While the post was meant to create awareness to the inequality within the restaurant industry and announce its scholarship program, the tweet drew criticism from social media users who slammed the chain for using sexist remarks as bait.
"This tweet has 22,000 retweets. Your reply tweet has 1,000 retweets. This is why using sexist remarks as bait is a dumb, dumb idea. The majority of people aren't seeing your positive reply. They're just seeing a sexist comment made by a brand account," wrote one user.
"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," commented another.
Here are some of the other reactions:
Burger King Responds
In the wake of the backlash, Fernando Machado, global CMO of Burger King's parent company Restaurant Brands International told Adweek that although its social media post has stirred up controversy, he is hopeful that people will see the real intention behind it.
"That [tweet] did draw some negative feedback from people who only read the headline," Machado said. "But hopefully it will continue to shift to positive as people realize the real intent behind it."