Following a wave of criticism over what was called a “racist” ad showing people using oversized chopsticks, Burger King has issued an apology and told its franchisee in New Zealand to pull the spot.
Promoting a new menu item, Burger King posted the ad on Instagram with the tagline “Take your taste buds all the way to Ho Chi Minh City with our Vietnamese Sweet Chilli Tendercrisp.”
A Burger King spokeswoman told CNN that the company had asked its franchisee in New Zealand to remove the ad immediately. “The ad in question is insensitive and does not reflect our brand values regarding diversity and inclusion,” she said in a statement.
Korean New Zealander, Maria Mo, first posted the video ad on Twitter Thursday calling out Burger King with seemingly sarcastic commentary before going on to call it “orientalism.”
So this is the new Burger King ad for a “Vietnamese” burger ok coolcoolcoolcoolcool CHOPSTICKS R HILARIOUS right omg etc ?????? pic.twitter.com/zVD8CN04Wc
— a little mo (@mariahmocarey) April 4, 2019
The post was retweeted over three thousand times and drew over 700 comments. A TechCrunch reporter based in Taiwan, Catherine Shu, retweeted Mo’s tweet to her followers asking “Who the hell came up with this?”
LOL chopsticks amirite??????
Who the hell came up with this? There are a lot of Asian people in NZ, though they probably aren’t getting their Vietnamese food from Burger King ? https://t.co/XSGYX7IVBR
— Catherine Shu ? (@CatherineShu) April 5, 2019
On Sunday Mo tweeted how Burger King’s racism is part of a larger problem and that she is sick of racism “Of any kind,” before apparently referencing the mosque shootings in New Zealand.
“I’m so sick of racism. Of any kind. Of the kind that makes fun of different cultures, to the kind that shoots and murders those peacefully praying in their place of worship. Say no to every single manifestation of it.”
In an interview with CNN Mo said: “I couldn’t believe such blatantly ignorant ads are still happening in 2019. I could not believe that such a concept was approved for such a big, well-known company.”
Following the apology, as the fast food chain looks to move on, it remains to be seen how the blunder affects Burger King’s growth plans in Asia. The brand opened about 100 new restaurants last year in China to reach about 1,000 locations.
The Vietnamese Sweet Chilli Tendercrisp remains on the menu.