Burger King UK's tweet about women belonging 'in the kitchen' draws backlash on social media
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This probably didn’t go the way they hoped it would.
In honor of International Women’s Day, a number of companies and brands are using social media to share supportive messages or promote their own relevant initiatives for female employees. Burger King U.K. apparently tried to do the latter, but has since come under fire for its statements, which the fast-food chain appeared to present in a joking manner.
On Monday, the Burger King U.K. account tweeted out a message simply reading "women belong in the kitchen." The brand followed it up with another tweet, clarifying that women only belong in the kitchen "if they want to, or 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 second tweet clarified.
The company concluded by announcing a scholarship program "which will help female Burger king employees pursue their culinary dreams!"
The initial post, however, drew some harsh criticism from fans.
"Shameful Burger King absolutely bang out of order," one user wrote."On Women's Day no less!"
"Doing misogynistic baiting is just kinda wrong," another said, criticizing not only the initial post but Burger King U.K.'s alleged intent to use the controversial statement to attract readers.
"I get that you were using this comment as bait for a larger conversation to actually empower women," someone else explained. "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."
Other brands replied to Burger King’s tweet, with KFC’s UK account posting a meme reading, "The best time to delete this post was immediately after posting it. The second best time is now."
Burger King U.K. responded to KFC’s post, writing, "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? We've launched a scholarship to help give more of our female employees the chance to pursue a culinary career."
In a statement obtained by Fox News, a spokesperson for Burger King added that the brand is "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."
The statement continued: "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."
Burger King also confirmed to Fox News that it has created a new scholarship program called H.E.R. (Helping Equalize Restaurants) to help its female team members pursue degrees in the culinary arts. The chain further claimed that its H.E.R. initiative, which is part of the larger Burger King Foundation Scholars Program, has already awarded "more than $3 million in scholarships to support female team members in achieving their educational goals in North America."