- Hooters employees are taking to TikTok to push back against new revealing shorts.
- The shorts were debuted at select locations in Texas and have since expanded to other states.
- The shorts are the latest in a series of controversies for the restaurant chain.
Some Hooters employees are speaking out on social media against a new uniform they say is too revealing.
Several staffers took to TikTok this week in a series of viral videos about new shorts that are so short they’ve been described as “like underwear.” In the videos, employees are airing their grievances with the skimpy uniforms and comparing the length to their previous shorts, which are considerably longer.
The restaurant chain — which is known for its “craveable food and wings, cold beer, sports, and of course, Hooters Girls” as the company states on its website — has long faced criticism for its sexualization of women. Critics have called out the chain for outfitting employees in revealing uniforms and requiring certain hair and makeup standards.
“It is an entire job based on sexual harassment,” Brittanny Anderson, chef and owner of Metzger Bar and Butchery and a former Hooters Girl, told GQ in 2018. “You are paid to be sexually harassed and objectified. Everyone at Hooters is aware.”
Founded in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the company has been the subject of several lawsuits over the years. In 2019, a Michigan employee sued the company for weight discrimination after she was told her 132-pound frame did not meet the brand’s aesthetic requirements.
Hooters pushed back against the suit, telling Reuters it was baseless and that it doesn’t enforce weight requirements.
In 2013, a staffer was awarded $250,000 in a racial discrimination lawsuit after she was told “Hooters prohibits African-American Hooters Girls from wearing blond highlights in their hair,” according to the lawsuit. The company reportedly maintained it doesn’t have different standards based on race.
The company also settled a class-action lawsuit for gender-based discrimination in 1997, ultimately setting precedent using a legal loophole to allow Hooters to continue to exclusively employ women.
Today the company has more than 420 locations across 42 states and 29 countries operating as franchises owned and operated by Hooters of America, LLC. Additionally, there are 25 Hooters restaurants that function as part of the Original Hooters Group, which are owned separately but use similar branding.
A representative for Hooters did not immediately respond to Insider’s request to comment, though told NBC News that the uniform change was rolled out to select locations in Texas before expanding to other stores owned by Hooters of America, LLC.
Restaurants owned by the Original Hooters Group have not introduced the shorter shorts, and employees are still wearing their regular uniform.
“The ‘Original’ Hooters Restaurants located throughout Tampa Bay, Chicagoland, and Manhattan … will not be changing their iconic uniform of orange shorts and white uniform tops that has made the brand universally famous,” the spokesperson told NBC News in an email statement.
Further, the spokesperson said the decision to debut the smaller shorts came as part of a “collaboration with Hooters Girls” in Texas where the uniforms “have received overwhelmingly favorable reviews from both Hooters Girls and customers.”
Some employees have defended the uniforms on TikTok and shared their enthusiasm for the new shorts, including one TikTok user who said she’s been making “way more money” since she started wearing the new uniform and another who wrote in a caption “Am I the only Hootie that loves the new shorts???”
In a follow-up post shared on Friday, TikTok user @sick.abt.it shared that after her initial video went viral, the CEO of Hooters contacted her directly to tell her she could continue to wear the old shorts.
“Couldn’t have done it without all of you #hootersgirl,” she wrote in the caption.