McDonalds: Who’s lovin’ it?

You gotta sympathize a little bit with McDonalds COO, Don Thompson. Comments about a French McDonald’s ad in a June 14, Chicago Tribune interview have earned him a twofer of some distinction. First, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce said they were not lovin’ the fast food chain and announced that they were severing ties. Then today, the American for Truth About Homosexuality, Peter LaBarbera, announced a Big Mac boycott based on the same commercial and comments.

Since I saw the ad a while ago, I have stopped eating at McDonalds — which has had the added bonus of helping to keep my already protruding gut from officially being designated as “super-sized.”

Now LaBarbera and the NGLCC wants everybody else to eat elsewhere.

What has the culture war factions all upset? Here are Thompson’s comments in response to a question about that French ad (see below):

Tribune: A French TV ad featuring a gay teen and his father has stirred some controversy — not there, but here. Can you talk about that?

Thompson: It is an example that markets, cultures are very different around the world. (For instance), I’ve never shied away from the fact that I’m a Christian. I have my own personal beliefs and I don’t impose those on anybody else. I’ve been in countries where the majority of the people in the country don’t believe in a deity or they may be atheist. Or the majority of the country is Muslim. Or it may be the majority is much younger skewed. So when you look at all these differences, it’s not that I’m to be the judge or the jury relative to right or wrong. Having said that, at McDonald’s, there are core values we stand for and the world is getting much closer. So we have a lot of conversations. We’re going to make some mistakes at times. (We talk) about things that may have an implication in one part of the world and may be the cultural norm in another part of the world. And those are things that, yes, we’re going to learn from. But, you’re right, that commercial won’t show in the United States.

Here is the commercial:

Having watched the commercial, I can clearly see what has everyone so upset. The father’s blatant encouragement of heterosexual promiscuity in his son is shocking and indeed would be offensive to many Americans.

On the local level, the McDonalds here is pretty community minded, having recently hosted a fundraiser for the public library. They donate lots of food, drinks and other items to local charities, churches and sports teams.  Friends and neighbors work there and I think they would be confused and upset if their livelihood was hurt due to what some French corporate people decided to do.

Having said that, I suppose there are issues which might trouble someone enough that avoiding the business could bring relief from the dissonance. Personal boycotts may give someone a feeling that they are doing something to live a consistent life. This is a matter of personal conscience. In this instance, I suspect McDonalds has little to worry about from either side.

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Janet

    I can clearly see what has everyone so upset. The father’s blatant encouragement of heterosexual promiscuity in his son is shocking and indeed would be offensive to many Americans.

    So true! Thank you for point out the REAL controversy. I love the French commercial and I wish McDonald’s would gut it up and show it here in the US. It’s beautiful.

  • Mary

    This is all so silly. Turn off the TV and eat fresh food – IOW Live a real life.

  • http://aol n

    This ad is silly, Why is about gays, because he talking to a friend and say he has to go because his dad coming. So, if he is gay, but How many times you were a

    phone and you didn’t want your parents hear what your talking about. So, you tell

    your Parent coming or is I have to go, I call your later, or you excuse yourself and

    go into another room.

    I’m Tired of people complaining about McDonalds, Remember it is called FREEDOM of choice, STOP blaming every one else because you like to eat,

    Start by cutting down what you eat. REMEMBER alot of people rely of McDonalds

    for jobs, SO, back off.


  • David Blakeslee

    Once the culture decided to enshrine heterosexual promiscuity as normal and even preferred, that culture loses all credibility to comment about other issues of sexuality with moral authority (visa vis homosexuality).

    The fascinating piece is that it still claims a moral authority…a moral authority that having opinions about sexuality and its expression and its effect on public policy is “hypocritical.” This is true for the sexual libertine…

    Christians have never claimed that heterosexual promiscuity should be encouraged, we were mocked for discouraging it. Yet, now that a second sexual behavior issue is in the forefront, it seems we are implicitly criticized for having a double standard…

    Not the case…Christians have always been a bummer when it comes to sexual freedom.

    The McDonald’s advertisement is aimed squarely at the heterosexual libertine who a) is out of touch with his own son in a profound way and b) does not manifest any values about sexuality except elitism and freedom.

  • David Blakeslee

    We mock the Brady Bunch and Father Knows Best as a contrivance…

    TV culture is full of contrivances that we willingly tolerate to the point of absurdity, especially in sexuality: they must endorse a view of sexuality that is an indulgence of heterosexual, bi-sexual and homosexual freedom…under the rubric of freedom and tolerance.

    It is not entertainment and it doesn’t sell happy meals to write scripts or ads about the benefits of sexual restraint and devotion.

    But that shouldn’t surprise us as if products and shows are not Sexy, they don’t sell.

    Yet, the advertisement and entertainment medium seeks to morally inform us about the proper attitudes around sexual behavior…sexual behavior they hare trying to exploit to sell and entertain.

    Seem like a farce waiting to be written.