BackEat & Drink » Food Culture » Burger King Pulls 'Racist' Ad of People Eating 'Vietnamese' Burger With Giant Chopsticks

Have it your way, but what if that way is exaggerated chopstick use with racist undertones?

Burger King New Zealand just landed itself in hot water after a video commercial for its new Vietnamese-style burger was posted on Instagram. The short clip shows several diners trying to wolf down the new burger using a pair of comically large red chopsticks. Some even hold each of the chopstick in separate hands. Why?



The questionable video was spotlighted first by Twitter user Maria Mo (@mariahmocarey), a New Zealander of Korean descent, who mocked the ad for its use of Asian stereotypes. Chopsticks are used across the world by billions of Asians every day, none of whom would use them to eat a burger in such a hyperbolic manner. “To me, it was just another portrayal of Asian culture that narrowed it down to a caricature,” she told Washington Post.

The Vietnam-inspired dish, named Vietnamese Sweet Chili Tendercrisp, was released as part of the fast food chain’s new “Tastes of the World” series, featuring American-, Japanese- and Vietnamese-style burgers. According to the Burger King website, Vietnamese Sweet Chili Tendercrisp has mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion, a fried chicken patty and sweet chili sauce. “Take your taste buds all the way to Ho Chi Minh City,” the description reads.

A Vietnamese burger with nothing Vietnamese in it. Screenshot of the Burger King New Zealand website.

Mo’s sentiment was echoed by other Asian users who censured the brand's cultural insensitivity. Some even noted that sweet chili sauce is not even Vietnamese, but Thai. Others chimed in with past instances of when Asian cultures were mocked by big brands in a failed attempt at humor. Dolce & Gabbana’s unbelievably racist chopstick ad is one of them.

According to The New Zealand Herald, the same video ad by Burger King was pulled from television last month by the Advertising Standards Authority, albeit for a different reason. The authority deemed that the ad is “enticing people to overeat” due to a line in the script: “Just need another three.”

After the backlash, Burger King has pulled the incendiary video from its social media altogether and issued an apology. “The ad in question is insensitive and does not reflect our brand values regarding diversity and inclusion,” it said. “We have asked our franchisee in New Zealand to remove the ad immediately.”

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