Burger King should be applauded despite its controversial International Women's Day tweet, according to Women In The Food Industry.
The organisation, which celebrates and empowers female voices in the food industry, has spoken exclusively to Twisted about the backlash the fast food giant received.
On IWD, Burger King started trending on social media after its official UK account tweeted that women "belong in the kitchen".
The tweet was intended to promote the brand's new culinary scholarship initiative. However, it quickly became clear that this message was being lost amidst the angry response.
Women In The Food Industry defend Burger King
Although the brand quickly clarified the post, explaining that lack of female representation is a key issue, the reaction was hostile. Almost immediately, Twitter users castigated Burger King for perpetuating damaging gender stereotypes.
However, Janie Ash, who is the co-founder of Women In The Food Industry, explained that the hostility towards Burger King has sadly obscured the importance of its message.
She tells Twisted: "Our focus is on helping and supporting women in the food industry and it looks like a good thing they're actually doing here - which is getting overlooked because of their controversial tweet.
"Any business that is actively helping women in the food industry should be applauded. We look forward to seeing how the scholarship programme develops and we would be happy to help in any way we can."
International Women's Day tweet
Despite the brand's best efforts to justify its tweet yesterday, Burger King ultimately removed the contentious material. Given the backlash, the response is understandable.
Within hours, the tweet received over 150,000 retweets and over 600,000 likes. Commentary from the online community was not particularly sympathetic.
Several critics expressed their incredulity that the tweet was even real. Hundreds of others, meanwhile, questioned the choice of language on, of all days, International Women's Day.
In a statement issued on Twitter, Burger King apologised for its initial tweet. As the brand explained: "We hear you. We got our initial tweet wrong and we’re sorry. Our aim was to draw attention to the fact that only 20% of professional chefs in UK kitchens are women and to help change that by awarding culinary scholarships.
"We will do better next time."
The fast food chain added that it had removed the original tweet after some users found abusive comments in the thread. As a spokesperson put it, "we don't want to leave the space open for that."
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