Burger King slammed for ‘racist’ ad promoting Vietnamese burger

April 09, 2019 - 14:29

Burger King has come under fire for an advertisement that many deemed racist against Asians.


Peter Cowan

Burger King has come under fire for an advertisement that many deemed racist against Asians.

A video that was posted on the Instagram account @burgerkingnz and swiftly went viral after a short clip of it was posted on Twitter by a Korean New Zealander on April 4.                  

The clip shows several people tying and failing to eat a burger with large, red chopsticks.

A caption accompanying the video read “Take your taste buds all the way to Ho Chi Minh City with our Vietnamese Sweet Chilli Tendercrisp.”

The video, shared by Maria Mo via the account @mariahmocarey, has received more than 2.7 million views.

Mo told www.huffpost.com that she shared the clip as she was tired of large corporations portraying Asians in an offensive manner.

“I could not believe that such a concept was approved for such a big, well-known company. It says a lot (about) what kind of demographics they must employ across the board for their ads.”

Other social media users were quick to slam the fast foot retailer for making fun of a utensil that has been used across Asia for thousands of years.

Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Vietnamese-American novelist, shared the clip with the comment “What’s worse, this ad or using chopsticks in your hair?”

The advertisement was later removed from all of Burger King NZ’s social media platforms.

Respond to the controversy, Burger King released a statement to PEOPLE, saying: “The ad in question is insensitive and does not reflect our brand values regarding diversity and inclusion. We have asked our franchisee in New Zealand to remove the ad immediately.”

Burger King NZ’s Chief Marketing Officer James Woodbrige expressed regret to the New Zealand Herald.

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

Burger King entered the Vietnamese market in 2011, but has struggled to win over local consumers. The firm hoped to have 60 outlets in the country by 2016, but as of 2018 had only 11.VNS