Burger King remove 'racist' chopsticks ad

By Kris Bramwell & Kerry Allen
BBC News & BBC Monitoring

  • Published
Screenshot of the Bruger King advert which has been taken downImage source, Burger King/Instagram
Image caption,
The Burger King advert has been described as racist by some Twitter users

Burger King has removed an advert which shows western people trying to eat a burger with oversized red chopsticks following criticism on social media.

The advert for a new Vietnamese burger in New Zealand has sparked a debate over whether the advert is harmless fun or culturally insensitive and racist.

A clip of the advert posted to Twitter by Maria Mo, a Korean woman living in New Zealand, has been viewed more than 2.9M times.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

In her subsequent thread she berates Burger King's attempts to make fun of how Asians eat and described the advert as racist.

She tweeted: "I'm so sick of racism of any kind. Of the kind that makes fun of different cultures. Say no to every single manifestation of it."

Others feel equally as strong: "I always thought that Burger King was better than KFC and McDonalds, but now I don't want to eat their products," wrote one disgruntled post on the Chinese micro-blogging platform Weibo.

Image source, Dolce and Gabbana/Instagram
Image caption,
A scene from Dolce and Gabbana's #DGLovesChina campaign

Some on social media have likened this to the racism row faced by fashion house Dolce & Gabbana after they posted videos of a Chinese model eating Italian food with chopsticks in 2018.

Twitter user TatianaKing wrote: "I thought brands learned their lesson after the D&G chopsticks fiasco... then again I'm not surprised."

In China, the Burger King advert has been viewed more than eight million times on the news website Pear Video and tens of thousands of Weibo users have been posting about it. The hashtag, which translates as #NewBurgerKingAdvertAllegedlyRacist, has also been used more than 12,000 times.

Not all posts are critical, however. "Whatever anyone does, it's discrimination, we're bursting with persecution and paranoia. What can brands do in the future to introduce Asian elements?" asked one user who had sympathy for Burger King.

Another saw the funny side of the advert: "This is just a joke that westerners can't use chopsticks. Why is it only in recent years that we hear that Chinese people feel discriminated against? Am I meant to get angry?"

And others believe those who have been offended by the advert are sensitive and show that people in China have an inferiority complex.

Burger King has now deleted the clip which appeared on their Instagram account for New Zealand and has withdrawn the television advert. A spokesperson said: "The ad in question is insensitive and does not reflect our brand values regarding diversity and inclusion."

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