In honor of International Women’s Day, Burger King UK tweeted a controversial joke that was immediately grilled on Twitter.
The follow-up tweet went on to say: “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.”
In a third tweet on the thread, Burger King UK then announced the company is launching a new scholarship program to “help female Burger King employees pursue their culinary dreams!”
While the initial tweet has over 492,000 likes and growing, many readers did not find the company’s play on the offensive stereotype clever.
“I won’t be eating at your store again thanks,” commented one offended former fan to the tune of over 28,000 likes.
“The best time to delete this was post was immediately after posting it. The second best time is now,” reads another comment with 111,000 likes.
But Burger King only doubled down in response.
“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,” the multinational chain reiterated in its response.
If this was truly the company’s mission, some readers say they should instead take internal action.
“Maybe instead of using sexist jokes to promote a program that’s basically just a virtue-signaling PR campaign for Burger King, the company could do something useful like address the harassment and sexual violence their female employees endure at work,” tweeted software engineer Kelly Ellis.