A couple of years ago, the most photographed landmark in this entire county might've been a local McDonald's that had lost a crucial consonant from its outdoor sign. Thanks to that missing G, it advertised the arrival of anus burgers, which was almost universally hilarious, because everyone secretly loves a good butt joke. Well, everyone except Andy Puzder.
Before he became President Donald Trump's potentially problematic (and widely protested) pick for Secretary of Labor, Puzder was the CEO of Carl's Jr.-slash-Hardee's parent company CKE Restaurants and, as CNN just reminded everyone, he was not a fan of anus jokes.
In 2007, Puzder filed a lawsuit against Carl's Jr's fast food competitor Jack in the Box, all because of an advertising campaign that suggested that Angus beef came from a cow's rectal region. In one of the two commercials that made Puzder's forehead crumple, Jack in the Box's smiling mascot was asked to point out a cow's "Angus area" on a diagram. "I'd rather not," Jack said, his expression fading.
Puzder didn't like Jack in the Box's, um, butt crack (SORRY), so CKE tried to sue the pants off of Jack and his employers. "While Defendant may find humorous the aural and phonetic similarities between the words 'Angus' and 'anus,' " the Los Angeles Times quoted the lawsuit as saying, it also alleged that the commercials promoted "the erroneous notion that all cuts of Angus beef are derived from the anus of beef cattle."
In the lawsuit, CKE went for Jack's own ass, suggesting that the chain's burgers were made from "frozen sirloin butt meat," and arguing that the chain should run a series of ads to correct the assertion that Angus cattle had anything to do with anus-adjacent beef.
"They're not being funny," Puzder told the Associated Press at the time. "They need to stop misleading people about what Angus beef is." (In court, CKE's legal team showed the results of a survey, in which 36 percent of 404 burger eaters thought that Angus beef was sliced straight from a cow's butt). Regardless, the two chains eventually reached an undisclosed settlement, and the lawsuit was dismissed.
It's worth noting that Puzder was always quick to defend Carl's Jr's own controversial ads, the ones that showed a variety of skimpily dressed models—including Kate Upton, Padma Lakshmi, Charlotte McKinney and Paris Hilton—suggestively eating the chain's cheeseburgers. "We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don't sell burgers," the company said in a 2011 press release.
That seemingly endless series of commercials was roundly criticized for objectifying women, and an Ad Age study revealed that 52 percent of the viewers who had seen the ads found them "offensive."
"I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American," Puzder said in a 2015 interview with Entrepreneur. "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."
Ugh. Forget that whole joke about Angus burgers. I think we just came up with a new synonym for asshole.