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Burger King In Russia Apologizes For Ad Urging World Cup Pregnancies

A Burger King restaurant in Moscow

The Russian division of the American fast-food restaurant chain Burger King has apologized for offering a lifetime supply of hamburgers to Russian women who get pregnant by World Cup players.

Critics assailed the offer, announced on Burger King's Russian social-media site, as tasteless and sexist. The ad was removed on June 19 but was still circulating on Russian social media on June 20.

The posting on VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, had promised a reward of 3 million rubles ($47,000) and a lifetime supply of free Whopper burgers to women who get "the best football genes" and "ensure the success of the Russian team for generations to come."

In a statement to AP on June 20, Burger King said, "We are sorry about the clearly offensive promotion that the team in Russia launched online."

It said the offer "does not reflect our brand or our values, and we are taking steps to ensure this type of activity does not happen again."

Burger King's Russian division has placed controversial ads on social media more than once. Last year, an online ad made made fun of a Russian teenage rape victim, prompting an outpouring of criticism that forced the company to take the ad down.

Ads in Russia often play on sexist stereotypes, notably ads around sporting events like the World Cup. Women's rights activists have been increasingly speaking out against them.

Based on reporting by AP and The Guardian