Burger King fired five employees from their New Mexico restaurant after they drew a derogatory image on a police officer’s wrapper, according to reports.
“What occurred is unacceptable and not in line with our brand values,” Burger King said in a statement released to Fox News. “When made aware of the incident, the restaurant owner immediately reached out—apologizing to the officer and firing the team members involved.”
“The restaurant is offering free meals to uniformed officers and will provide a catered lunch to the police department as a gesture of goodwill.”
The fast-food chain’s attempt to repair its public image came after a police officer shared a picture of his Burger King order on social media. The wrapper showed a pig’s face drawn on it. The post caused an outrage.
Clovis officer Timo Rosenthal said he was in uniform when he ordered his meal at Burger King last Thursday afternoon, reported local news station KRQE.
Rosenthal took a picture of his order and posted it on Facebook with the title “When you order food in uniform”. A badge-wearing pig can be seen drawn on the wrapper of his burger.
In addition to the disrespectful drawing, the New Mexico cop also complained that the patties were burned and the burger was of very poor quality.
“Guess that was the last time I ate at Burger King in Clovis, NM,” he wrote.
More than 3,500 people reacted to and commented under Rosenthal’s Facebook post. Many of them expressed frustration to the restaurant and support to the police officer, clashing with users posting derogatory anti-police memes.
“I can’t believe this happened to you in our wonderful town,” a Clovis resident wrote. “Please know that this is NOT the sentiment of the majority of our citizens. That person should be FIRED. You, just like all first responders, are HEROES and deserve to be treated with respect and gratitude!!”
“Please excuse the ignorant people,” wrote another user. “Thank you for all you and your brothers in blue across the country do daily to keep up [us] safe.”
The vice president of the Clovis Burger King branch told KRQE would not support that kind of treatment against anyone, especially law enforcement agents. A Burger King spokesperson said the five employees involved in the incident were fired according to KRQE.
The Clovis Police Chief said he is disappointed that any of his officers were treated “in a disrespectful and derogatory way,” reported KRQE.
Pig is one of many slang terms associated with law enforcement and gained popularity in the U.S. after police and anti-war protesters clashed during the 1968 National Democratic Convention in Chicago.
According to reference.com, a group identifying themselves as the “Yippies” protested against the Vietnam War outside the Chicago convention. These protesters carried a small pig as their presidential candidate, and they began calling the police themselves “pigs” when the officers attempted to disband the demonstration. The media headlines declared, “Police Called Pigs” and, according to the School for Champions, the term caught on, especially among younger people and the disenchanted.