Burger King pulls 'racist' advert featuring westerners with giant chopsticks eating 'Vietnamese' hamburgers

A screenshot of the Burger King New Zealand ad
A screenshot of the Burger King New Zealand ad
Burger King/Instagram

Burger King has been forced to take down an advert deemed "racist" in which westerners struggle to eat the fast food chain's new "Vietnamese" hamburger with giant chopsticks.

The advert appeared on the Instagram page of Burger King New Zealand to promote the new "Vietnamese Sweet Chilli Tendercrisp Burger" bearing the caption: "Take your taste buds all the way to Ho Chi Minh City".

It was soon the subject of a tweet by Maria Mo, a musical arts student at the University of Waikato, who wrote sarcastically, "CHOPSTICKS R HILARIOUS right omg".

The tweet went viral, with its accompanying video being viewed more than 2.9 million times at the time of writing and many commentators pointed out that a key component of the meal, sweet chilli sauce, actually traces its origins to Thai cooking, not Vietnam.

Mo accompanied her original message with a series of follow-up remarks mocking the chain for its assumptions, stating: "This is how Asians eeeeeeeeeat" and "Orientalism is harmless funnnnn".

Mo continued:

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 response to the complaints about the video, Burger King said in a statement that the advert has been removed and that it was 'insensitive';

We have asked our franchisee in New Zealand to remove the ad immediately.

 [The commercial was] insensitive and does not reflect our brand values regarding diversity and inclusion.

Burger King has a growing presence in Asia and is reportedly the biggest fast food chain in Malaysia and the second-biggest in Thailand and Indonesia, making the crassness of the advert all the more surprising.

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