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Burger King Gets Grilled After Tweeting “Women Belong in the Kitchen”

Burger King U.K. shares the “Women belong in the kitchen” post.

Burger King’s branch in the United Kingdom meant to promote something beneficial to womenkind and tweeted, “Women belong in the kitchen,”  but instead received backlash.

The brand posted a series of tweets in a thread to make an announcement of a new culinary scholarship they’re launching to help female Burger King employees in honor of International Women’s Day. However, the first tweet in the thread was: “Women belong in the kitchen.”

“If they want to, of course,” the Twitter thread continues. “yet only 20 percent 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.”

Critics accused the brand of using a sexist analogy as clickbait. Later in the day, the brand tweeted an apology and then deleted the original tweet, citing “abusive comments” in the thread.

“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.”

“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.”

While this clearly explains why Burger King made such a seemingly sexist comment, most people who saw the tweet didn’t bother to read the rest in the thread before publicly lashing out at the fast-food chain.

“We are committed to helping women break through a male-dominated culinary culture in the world’s fine dining restaurants — and sometimes that requires drawing attention to the problem we’re trying to help fix,” Burger King spokeswoman Adrianna Lauricella said. “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.”

Still, many users remained critical of the brand’s deceiving marketing move despite understanding what they were trying to lead up to.

“I get that you were using this comment as bait for a larger conversation to actually empower women,” says one tweeter. “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 Women’s Day].”

KFC Gaming tweeted a meme in response to Burger King UK with the caption: “The best time to delete this post was immediately after posting it. The second best time is now.”

But Burger King UK declined, and said “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?” it tweeted. “We’ve launched a scholarship to help give more of our female employees the chance to pursue a culinary career.”

In the case of Burger King, Tami Kim, an assistant professor of business administration at the University of Virginia, said, “Even if they didn’t intend to actually offend any woman out there and they have a really good program that they want to market, the damage is already done,” Kim said. “At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what their intent was because it’s ultimately up to the consumers to decide.”

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