Burger King launched a special version of its signature burger for a limited time. But you won’t find the ‘Pride Whopper’ in America.
If you were Burger King and you wanted to mark Pride Month, how would you do it? Burger King Austria decided to change the look of the chain’s iconic burger by changing up the bun options. The so-called “Pride Whopper” gives customers their choice of two top buns or two bottom buns.
The burger giant introduced the idea on its Burger King Austria Instagram account. Austria, it turns out, is apparently the only place selling the Pride Whopper:
The caption, in case you don’t speak German, reads, in part:
We set an example for the equality of all identifies and sexual orientations. A little twist mean to put a smile on our faces and remind us to treat each other with respect and peace. No matter who you are and who you love. #TimeToBeProud.
It notes the special Whopper is only available through June 20 in all restaurants. But that means all Burger King restaurants in Austria.
For some reason, the rest of the globe’s Burger King locations aren’t doing so. Apparently.
If you aren’t aware of the significance of the terms top and bottom in terms of homosexuality, well, you should probably Google that. But I’d advise you to do so outside of work, because you might end up with some “NSFW” websites that would be too detailed in their explanation.
It’s not the first time Burger King’s Whopper marked Pride Month.
The website LGBTQNation pointed out that Burger King locations in San Francisco sold a pride version of the whopper back in 2014.
That version, the site reported, didn’t change up the sandwich itself. Instead, it featured rainbow colored wrappers for the burger. Those wrappers also featured a simple message: “We are all the same inside.”
I can certainly imagine that the San Francisco idea could be appreciated by the LGBTQ community.
A video posted about customer reaction seemed to suggest some actually did appreciate the effort.
“A burger has never made me cry before,” one thankful customer said.
The reaction to the ‘Pride Whopper,’ though, seems a bit different.
A Gizmodo article about the burger called it “a meaty disaster.” Calling the promotion “tone deaf,” it adds that the idea “completely misses the mark by forcing a sexual innuendo on a…burger.”
To its credit, Burger King Austria did confirm it supports the LGBTQIA community and is an official partner of Vienna Pride. They pointed that out in response to a question on their Instagram account that accused them of “rainbow washing.”
“Rainbow washing” refers to businesses who add rainbows to their logos rather than actually donating to organizations that fight for gay rights. Every October, we see businesses commit what is surely labeled “pink washing,” adding pink ribbons or using alternate pink-hued logos for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I understand the frustration there, but at the same time, raising awareness doesn’t exclusively mean donating money to a gay rights organization.
Awareness is awareness, right?
What some see as a cheap attempt to jump on a bandwagon could also be perceived by members of a certain group as an attempt to be welcoming. Some in the LGBTQ community who are poking fun at Burger King Austria’s efforts might at least wonder why other fast food restaurants aren’t doing something.
At the same time, this particular idea does seem a little questionable in its execution. If your first reaction was something along the lines of, “There’s a joke in there somewhere,” you’re probably right.
Comic artist Erica Henderson put it this way:
Again, if the meaning of top and bottom in this particular context isn’t clear, you’ll just have to look it up.
Would we be better off if no major chain did anything to recognize Pride Month? I’m not sure about that.
Maybe a little effort, well-meaning even if not exactly on-target, could be better than none at all? But I suppose that depends on your own point of view.