There are plenty of perfectly acceptable popular 21st century figures after whom you could name some fast food. This might be the generation that brought us ISIS, the Iraq War and Donald Trump’s presidency, but there have also been some rays of hope shining through the gloom. Malala Yousafzai. Nick Vujicic. Harry Kane in this summer’s World Cup. If you were to immortalise any of these in your favourite food, you’d struggle to find anyone wishing to complain. This makes one restaurant’s decision to name a burger after Harvey Weinstein all the more baffling.
Last week, it was revealed that the subtly named “Randy’s Hardcore Hamburgers” bar in Sheffield, England had decided to dedicate their latest menu item to the disgraced former Hollywood producer and accused rapist. The story came to a head when a report in “iNews” drew attention to the slew of tasteless names that populate the menu. With burgers including the “Fake Taxi” and “Classic Hardcore”, as well as the aforementioned “Weinstein”, there’s no doubt the restaurant is determined to sail pretty close to the wind.
Marketing itself as an “adult-themed” eatery, “Randy’s” has garnered significant criticism for it’s arguably insensitive attitude to naming. When the new burger’s title was revealed, it didn’t take long for Twitter to get involved. Jaq Chell commented that “You need to stop this. You’re being not tongue-in-cheek, you’re making light of sexual assault. Fake Taxi? Weinstein? Your burger names are not welcome in Sheffield [sic],” while Daniella Oreggo called on the city’s Lord Mayor to “kick these people out” of town.
Despite the backlash, Randy’s were initially hesitant in backing down. Speaking to iNews, owner and self-confessed creator of the offending burger Charlie Hewitt revealed that he “doesn’t plan on changing” the menu. He said that “The intention is not offend anybody. We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” before adding, “You do have to question what has happened to people’s humour? There is a mob mentality at the moment. I fully appreciate it has got some people’s backs up. We are not glorifying sexual predators, it’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour.”
However, whether due to finally coming to their senses or to an avalanche of public pressure, the restaurant quickly changed tack. On November 1st, Randy’s tweeted a public apology, stating that they “would like to genuinely apologise for any offence it has caused for its insensitive naming of the Weinstein burger.” They added that, “at no point does Randy’s look to glamourise or promote sexual assault towards any member of the community. We realise our mistake and trust that the people of Sheffield accept our apologies and understand that we are guilty of nothing more than poor taste.”
Anyone can make a mistake when trying to tell a joke. That being said, you have to wonder why on earth anyone would think that commemorating a man who may have sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl would be a worthy way to enhance their menu. Let’s hope that the lessons learned by Randy’s aren’t ignored by the rest of the industry. No one needs to try another “Weinstein Burger”.