The Woman Used Illegally In The Infamous Burger King "Blowjob" Ad Speaks Out.
Some of you will remember this unsubtle Burger King ad from five years, via Singapore. The overwhelming negative blowback over the ad forced BK USA Corporate to release this statement at the time:
"Burger King Corporation (BKC) values and respects all of its guests. This advertisement is running to support a limited promotion in the Singapore market and is not running in the U.S. or any other markets. It was produced by a locally-based Singapore agency..."The woman used in the ad—used without her permission or even knowledge—emailed me last year about the ad, seeking litigation advice. She said she had just found out about the ad, and that she "was not going down without a fight." I unfortunately couldn't help her, legally, but told her I thought she had a good case.
Well, she's not done fighting. "Jane Doe" (what she calls herself in emails) emailed me again today, sharing a short new video on YouTube called "Burger King Raped My Face." In it, she shows several shots from a photoshoot she did, including the one Burger King in Singapore used in its 2009 "Super Seven Incher" ad campaign.
Doe's image was used in online promotions, on bus stops posters around Singapore, even on place mats at BK restaurants. From her note accompanying the video:
"Burger King found my photo online from a series I did of various facial expressions and contortion poses, and with no due regard to me as a person, profited off reducing me to an orifice for their penis sludge; publicly humiliating me in the process (...)I like that last hashtag.
When asked for comment from the press Burger King claimed the campaign went down well, however after some research I discovered The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (where it was released) received several complaints and the campaign had to be prematurely removed (...)
Now due to the coverage its received (Time Magazine's Top Ten Tasteless Ads, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Gawker, Psychology Today to name a few) it's part of the public domain (...)
Friends, family, coworkers, prospective employers who saw it assume I was a willing player. Those offended by it don't know the extent of what's wrong with the ad; that I didn't know about this being done to my image, let alone agree to or pose for the scenario (...)
I believe in sexual expression in art and the media; it's beautiful and necessary for a healthy society but IT MUST BE CONSENSUAL otherwise it's RAPE.
Nice family restaurant you're running there Burger King.
#boycottbk #facerape #SuckOnYourOwnSlimySevenIncher"
Here's the video:
UPDATE: YouTube removed the video, probably coerced by Burger King.
UPDATE #2: And, it's back up.
Note: It was probably BK's ad agency (Singapore's Religion, since closed) that found Doe's image, but of course Burger King is responsible for its usage and ultimately the ad.
UPDATE: Tim Nudd, editor of Adfreak, got a statement from Burger King on the ad:
"Our investigation shows that the rights to use the image were purchased from the legal owner of those rights. We were not made aware until recently that the model claims not to have known about this use. We have since spoken with the model’s family and assured them that we have no intent to use this image again."