Burger King UK Is Facing Backlash For Its Controversial International Women's Day Statement

To celebrate International Women's Day, Burger King UK took to Twitter. To the puzzlement of many, the account tweeted, "Women belong in the kitchen" (via Twitter). There was immediate backlash, with many reacting to the controversial statement: "Somebody working at Burger King really looked at this and thought it was a good idea" wrote @chopggs, while @kfcgaming posted a meme of a teacher with the text "The best time to delete this post was immediately after posting it. The second best time is now." As Twitter user @CairaConner pointed out, Burger King also ran the sentiment in a full-page ad in the New York Times.

The issue, of course, was that on a holiday created by socialist women to center their particular struggles in the workplace, Burger King UK chose to post sentiments usually associated with the enforcement of traditional roles for women and sexist beliefs (via IWD). 

In fairness to Burger King UK, the tweet was followed by a second noting, "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 original tweet was meant as an affirmation, albeit a terribly conceived one that, at a glance, undermines both the point they're trying to make and the spirit of the holiday.

Burger King's new scholarship program was lost in their controversial messaging

The overall purpose of the Twitter thread was for Burger King to announce that they will introduce a scholarship for their female employees to follow their culinary dreams. While they didn't go into detail in their poorly-conceived Twitter thread, the details for an American set of H.E.R. (Helping Equalize Restaurants) Scholarships can be found on the Burger King McLamore Foundation's website. At least two American Burger King employees will receive $25,000 grants to a two or four-year culinary school. Whether the format will change in its translation to the UK has yet to be determined. 

However, a cynic may wonder whether giving the grants is not a way for Burger King to avoid improving workplace conditions, which a 2019 Eater deems as draining on their mental health. In 2019, The Guardian pointed out that Spanish Burger Kings came under fire for their strangely aggressive work attire policies, which were eventually dropped due to their sexual discrimination. After all, as Teen Vogue notes, International Women's Day began as a socialist platform against the working conditions in American garment factories, meaning that while the scholarship is no doubt welcome, raising the work experience of women across the board should really take precedent. 

Still, corporate-washing aside, the PR tactic has proved contentious. Even though the clickbait of the opening tweet may have drawn attention, Burger King's message will probably be lost by the crowing over its faux pas.