"Crazy" Burger King Commercial Raises the Question: When Is it Okay to Call People Insane?

Seen the "Crazy King" ad from Burger King yet? Did it offend you? Other members of the mental health community find the commercial reinforces negative stereotypes. We want to hear your opinion.
ADHD News Feed | posted by Mary Kearl

To what new low has the fast-food industry stooped? Calling the low cost of Burger King's new $3.99 Steakhouse XT the act of a "crazy" man. In the television ad, the person who made the cheap price possible, albeit a cartoon-looking fast-food chain "King," is chased by men in white coats, restrained, and labeled "crazy" and "insane" -- all within 31 seconds.

If you haven't seen the commercial, take a look at the clip below.


Is the advertising world so desperate for views (hey, they got us watching!) that they think it's acceptable to take words like "crazy" and "insane" and actions like physical restraints lightly? We're not laughing.

And neither is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), who had this to say about the "Crazy King" commercial:

It's the kind of stereotype and language that perpetuates stigma, reinforcing perceptions that associate violence with mental illness. "Comic" stereotypes also trivialize medical illness.

As ABC reports, David Shern, the president and CEO of Mental Health America, isn't happy either. He told ABC, the behavior of the "crazy" King in the commercial "would be rare and those kinds of stereotypes perpetuate discrimination against people with mental illnesses and stimulate fears."

NAMI is urging those who feel strongly about the commercial to contact John W. Chidsey, Chairman & CEO of the Burger King Corporation. We found out about the commercial via NAMI's StigmaBuster's campaign -- a grassroots organization of individual advocate seeking to eliminate "inaccurate and hurtful representations of mental illness," from TV, film, print, or other media. You can learn more -- and sign up for StigmaBuster alerts here.

The Internet social commentary talk show The Young Turks thought the mental health community's reaction was too sensitive. They raised the question, if you can't call someone an idiot or crazy, what words remain that aren't offensive? See their reactions in the clip below.


Plus, we want to hear from you: To raise mental health awareness, and eliminate the stigma associated with living with a mental illness, should "crazy" be added to the list of words that are no longer acceptable to use thoughtlessly or light-heartedly? Vote in our poll:

So many words are "off limits," because of the offensive connotations and imagery using them invokes. You tell us: Is it okay to call people and things crazy?

Yes
No
It's okay for me to say it, but it's not okay people who aren't diagnosed with a mental illness.
People shouldn't be so sensitive. Words only hurt us if we let them.

 
 
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