A Belgian fast food company has apologised after sharing an ad on Facebook which depicted a man punching a woman for handing him the wrong hamburger.
The now-deleted ad from Bicky Burger displayed the words “Serieux, un faux Bicky?” alongside the graphic, which translates to “Serious, a fake Bicky?” in English.
The Facebook ad instantly sparked an uproar, with Belgium’s Jury of Ethical Advertising (JEP) receiving hundreds of complaints within hours of the ad going live.
Women’s rights political entity Wallonia-Brussels Federation vice president Bénédicte Linard said it was “totally irresponsible” for the ad to trivialise domestic violence.
En Belgique en 2017, 38 femmes ont été tuées parce qu'elles étaient des femmes. En 2016, on a enregistré 18 000 plaintes pour violences conjugales en Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. C'est un sujet grave qu'il est totalement irresponsable de banaliser @bickyburger. pic.twitter.com/plgo6GzQls
— Bénédicte Linard (@BenedicteLinard) October 8, 2019
SHAME ON YOU FOR THIS UGLY ADVERTISEMENT #bickyburger ‼️ Do you know nothing about violence against women? Seriously?
— Maïté Abram (@maitea6) October 10, 2019
Goodlife Foods, the company that owns Bicky Burger, issued an apology after sharing the ad.
“We very much regret that this message gives the impression of promoting such ways of thinking. We had no intention of inciting violence, we see that the subject has opened a debate in the media,” the company said.
Despite the apology, it seems the brand’s reputation has taken a significant hit from the incident.
Users on Twitter have been calling for a boycott on Bicky Burger .
— 𝚍𝚎 𝙱𝚛𝚞𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚕𝚒𝚗𝚔 🎗 (@deBruggelink) October 8, 2019