U.S. News & World Report • Emily Martin
Only weeks ago, women took to the streets across the country and sent a resounding message: They will hold the Trump administration and Congress accountable for any attempts to turn back the clock on women’s rights. But the Senate, despite delays, may soon consider President Donald Trump’s pick Andrew Puzder for secretary of labor – a man with a problematic record on women that demonstrates he is unfit to serve.
Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, put the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands on the map by pushing the envelope to see how close burger commercials could get to soft-core pornography without being banned from network TV. He embraced raunchy ad campaigns that featured, in his words, “beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis,” who hosed themselves down, rode mechanical bulls and straddled bags of burgers. A company press release trumpeted, “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers.” Despite the criticism that followed, Puzder embraced the ads as an extension of himself, stating that they “[took] on my personality” as CEO.
Puzder may have been proud of the ads, but it seems he didn’t consider their impact on the women who work for him. Women working in the restaurant industry, including in fast food, experience extraordinarily high levels of sexual harassment from customers, co-workers and managers. According to a 2016 survey by Hart Research Associates, 40 percent of female fast-food workers are sexually harassed.