What kind of American values does Andy Puzder, reported to be Donald Trump’s pick for labor secretary, embrace?
Puzder, CEO of the company that operates burger chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, has been outspoken on a few issues. He doesn’t want to raise the minimum wage. He really dislikes Obamacare.
What, then, does he like?
Hot women in bikinis eating burgers.
“I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American,” Puzder told Entrepreneur last year. “I used to hear, brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality.”
The comments ― and Puzder’s full-throated defense of his degrading ad campaigns ― are just the latest sign of how terrible the Trump administration is likely to be for American women. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush both named women as labor secretaries.
Part of Puzder’s job as labor secretary would include protecting women’s rights in the workplace. He would oversee the Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau, which advocates for equal pay and offers resources for women discriminated against at work.
In Puzder’s world, the Women’s Bureau is the name of a “breastaurant” that serves high-end burgers.
His Carl’s Jr. has been running TV commercials showing super-attractive women eating burgers for more than a decade, beginning with a soft-porn spot featuring Paris Hilton nearly naked, washing a Bentley in heels and eating a burger. More recently, a young Kate Upton has taken on the mantle.
In these spots, women don’t just eat the food. They basically have sex with the food.
“It’s upsetting because of its objectification of women,” Jezebel wrote in a post entitled, “Put It in My Mouth: A History of Disgusting Carl’s Jr. Ads.” It’s infuriating because who in their right mind eats a burger with sopping wet hands.”
In an interview with Fox in 2015, Puzder defended the half-naked-women-sell-burgers-strategy by saying, essentially, it works. “We always get blowback on the ads … The ads are very effective. They appeal to our young hungry guy demographic.”
The fast-food industry is not known as a particularly good place for women. Yet a stunning 70 percent of the front-line, low-wage jobs in fast food are held by women. (I don’t have data specific to Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., but the stats are likely similar.)
Forty percent of women working in the industry reported some kind of sexual harassment at work, according to a recent survey. That’s 2 in 5 women.
But sure ― keep teaching young boys that women are just burger-selling, bikini-wearing vehicles for their pleasure. That will definitely send the message that sexual harassment isn’t OK.