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Burger King Says It Condemns Violence After Regulator Bans ‘Anti-Social’ Milkshake Tweet

The Advertising Standards Agency says an entirely innocuous tweet condoned “anti-social behaviour”

A composite photo of Brexit Party politician Nigel Farage dripping with milkshake, with the Burger King logo replacing his rosette Nigel Farage: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images; Burger King: [Official Photo]; Composite: Eater London

Brand gets a telling off for encouraging people to have fun with milkshakes

A tweet from Burger King that encouraged Scotland to buy milkshakes has been banned by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for “condoning anti-social behaviour,” according to the BBC. The offending tweet read:

Dear people of Scotland. We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK. #justsaying

The subtext: milkshaking right wing politicians. Burger King sent the tweet in May, just before Brexit Party head honcho Nigel Farage came up to Edinburgh for a poorly attended rally, and just after police instructed McDonald’s to stop selling milkshakes. In the same month, a man threw a milkshake at anti-Islam hate campaigner Tommy Robinson and, days after this tweet, another man threw another milkshake at Farage in Newcastle. The BBC describes these events as “dairy-based incidents.”

The ASA received 24 complaints arguing that Burger King’s tweet was “irresponsible and offensive,” with the regulator finding that it broke advertising rules on “governing social responsibility and harm and offence.”

This decision comes in the same week that right-wing commentator Brendan O’Neill suggested there “should be” riots over Brexit; in the same week that Home Secretary Priti Patel dogwhistled the north London “metropolitan elite.” The equivocation of launching dairy products at politicians’ midriffs with “harm and offence” is a dangerous one, and — unwittingly, it should be said — leans into a wider, troubling discourse in which milkshaking is treated as a violence as serious as racism, verbal intimidation, or actual physical violence. [BBC]

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