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UPDATED 3/9, 10:05 a.m. ET: In a new tweet, Burger King’s UK division said it got the initial tweet “wrong” and offered an apology.
“We will do better next time,” the tweet said, noting again that the intention was to get eyes on the previously cited statistics on women in restaurant leadership roles.
The original tweet, meanwhile, has been removed.
See original story below.
Monday marks the 2021 iteration of International Women’s Day, with this year’s theme set as “choose to challenge.” Early in the day, the official Twitter account for Burger King’s UK division drew attention after sharing a tweet stating “women belong in the kitchen,” which launched a thread about the brand’s plans for IWD 2021.
The initial tweet, as seen below, was shared without context before the ensuing thread—which included the addendum “if they want to, of course”—revealed the launch of the Burger King Culinary Scholarship.
The “women belong in the kitchen” tweet, of course, was met with immediate (and fervent) criticism on Monday. Some also noted the full intention of the thread in connection with highlighting an industry disparity on International Women’s Day, though they too—in many instances—were critical of the execution.
Complex reached out to a rep for Burger King UK, who shared a statement explaining that the intention of the tweet in question was to “undermine an outdated stereotype about women and reclaim the terminology” as part of a larger effort aimed at highlighting the fact that women occupy just 20 percent of chef positions in UK restaurants.
See the rep’s full statement, shared to Complex via email on Monday, below:
“It was our intention to undermine an outdated stereotype about women and reclaim the terminology, in order to highlight a big problem in the restaurant industry – that women occupy only 20 percent of chef positions in UK restaurants today, which we believe is offensive. The campaign’s aim is to continue the important conversation around gender inequality within the culinary field.
We have teamed up with culinary schools to create a scholarship programme for our female team members to help them achieve their career aspirations. The newly created culinary scholarship programme will help female team members who are interested in pursuing a qualification in culinary arts and is underlined by our commitment to BRC’s D&I charter, and its six pledges to eliminate unlawful discrimination and encourage equal opportunities for all our colleagues.”
The Burger King Culinary Scholarship, per the company, is a program designed to help women who are interested in or currently pursuing a culinary artist qualification from a top-tier school. Similar programs are also said to be taking shape in Mexico and here in the States.
At the time of this writing, the criticism was still stacking up in response to the original tweet, despite the stated problem-highlighting intentions of the overall strategy.