KFC Australia has been accused of serving up buckets of sexism after a new commercial was criticized by a group campaigning against the objectification of women.
The fast-food chain recently released a 15-second ad on YouTube for its Zinger Popcorn Box that opened with a scantily clad young woman checking herself out in the tinted windows of a parked car, unaware that anyone was inside the vehicle. Gawking at her own backside and cleavage, the festival-bound woman was then shocked to see the car's window roll down, revealing two young boys ogling her, and an older woman in the driver's seat looking unimpressed.
The young woman then sheepishly asks, “Did someone say KFC?” — a catchphrase featured in a series of KFC Australia's commercials, wherein people use the prospect of KFC to escape awkward situations, News.com.au reports.
The scene then cuts to the woman having fun at the festival with friends and digging into a chicken sandwich.
The 15-second clip, first shared to YouTube at the end of December, has been viewed over 51,000 times as of Tuesday.
Soon after its release, anti-"sexpolitation" advocates with Australia's Collective Shout movement formally called out KFC, calling the ad “a regression to tired and archaic stereotypes where young women are sexually objectified for male pleasure.”
Last week, KFC issued an apology for the ad, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reports.
“We apologize if anyone was offended by our latest commercial. Our intention was not to stereotype women and young boys in a negative light,” a representative for the fast-food chain told the outlet on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, KFC has not yet confirmed whether or not the ad will be pulled from television, where the AAP reports it has continued to air. As of Tuesday, KFC Australia was also still hosting the video on YouTube.
According to a statement from a Collective Shout rep, the Australian ad for the Zinger Popcorn Box remains dangerous as long as it is broadcasted.
“Ads like this reinforce the false idea that we can't expect better from boys. It is another manifestation of the 'boys will be boys' trope, hampering our ability to challenge sexist ideas which contribute to harmful behavior towards women and girls,” Collective Shout spokeswoman Melinda Liszewski said in a statement.
“The research is solid: attitudes shape behavior. A growing number of reports show how re-enforcing of gender stereotypes – including in advertising – contributes to a lesser view of women, resulting in their mistreatment,” Liszewski added.
Collective Shout describes itself as a “grassroots campaigns movement against the objectification of women and the sexualization of girls” in media, advertising and pop culture.
A spokesperson for the restaurant was not immediately available to offer further comment.