Burger King pulls ad after public outcry

Wang Qingchu
The controversial clip showed people fumbling with chopsticks as they attempted to eat the brand's "Vietnamese" burger. Critics say the ad was racist and offensive toward Asians.
Wang Qingchu
Burger King pulls ad after public outcry

Burger King has apologized for and removed a social media ad following widespread criticism that it was offensive to Asians.

In a video clip posted on the fast-food chain’s New Zealand Instagram account, people were depicted awkwardly struggling to eat its new Vietnamese sweet chili tendercrisp burgers with a pair of oversized red chopsticks.

Social media posts critical of the ad have been seen and shared widely since late last week. "CHOPSTICKS R HILARIOUS right omg" wrote Twitter user @mariahmocarey in an April 4 post which has attracted millions of view and thousands of retweets.

Burger King’s General Manager of Marketing, James Woodbridge, told the New Zealand Herald that the company is "truly sorry," and the ad has been removed.

"We are truly sorry that the ad has appeared insensitive to our community. We have removed it and it certainly does not reflect our brand values around diversity and inclusion," he said.

The incident sparked controversy on Chinese social media too. Some Weibo users felt that the ad mocked Asians as no one would use chopsticks to eat a burger. Others brushed off accusations of racism, saying that people might be too sensitive. 

The Burger Kind clip also drew comparison with ads and remarks from Dolce & Gabbana which many considered offensive. As part of promotions for a runway show in Shanghai last November, the fashion house released three videos of a Chinese-looking woman being told how to use chopsticks to eat Italian food. The videos were released on Instagram and Weibo.

The ads were followed by racist and derogatory comments by one of the founders of the group, leading to the cancellation of the show and a boycott of the brand.

Its founders later issued an apology to defuse the public's anger.

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