It was a well intentioned campaign that appealed to many even as others launched a vociferous call for repeal. "Women belong in the kitchen" proclaimed well known fast food joint Burger King on International Women's Day. And while this was an effort to promote a new culinary scholarship for women, many could not look past the rather problematic introduction.
The company initially stood by its Twitter thread (the quote was only the introduction to the scheme) and newspaper adverts. It even took on rival food chain KFC when the latter suggested that it would be best to delete the tweet. But as Twitter cried foul and accused Burger King of misogyny, the company began to soften.
"We hear you" the company tweeted a few hours later, having finally succumbed to the calls for retraction. But it was too little too late. While some decided to flood the comments section with the company's now deleted post, others appeared irate over the removal.
"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 company said.
In a follow-up post it explained that the earlier tweets had been deleted because there were "abusive comments in the thread".
A quick perusal of the comments section shows that the only thing Twitterati can agree on at present is that Burger King made a mistake. While some contend that the Women's Day post was the gaffe, others are frowning over the fact that they deleted their initial thread. To quote one Twitter user, "The wokes hate you for your original post. Normal people hate you for backing down from an innocuous tweet".
"It will never leave. You made a tweet. Its now gonna stick with you," said one user helpfully sharing a screengrab of the deleted tweet (with the red heart symbol at the bottom indicating that they had liked the post before taking the screenshot).
"Are you rounding up copies of all the print advertisements too? It is simply too late ... the train has left the station my friend. How about this, start by creating an environment where people truly understand that this is never okay. This is not a strategy, this is just sad," criticised another.
"Is it weird that I wasn’t offended - it made me want to see where they were going with and it’s horrible that there isn’t more female representation in the culinary field. That’s how I took it. And they did say 'if they want to'. I don’t know, maybe I’m not that sensitive?" read one bemused tweet.
Others still contend that while the message had been "good", the delivery should not have begun with a "clearly misogynistic statement that many people agree with unironically".