News » Glbt

McDonald’s Stands Up to Anti-Gay Group

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday July 3, 2008

The anti-gay American Family Association, which condemns gay and lesbian family causes like marriage equality, has called for a boycott of fast-food chain restaurant McDonald's.

McDonald's, however, has given the AMA notice that it's not about to allow its policies to be dictated by anti-gay groups.

In a May 29 letter to AFA founder and chairman Donald Wildmon, Pat Harris, Global Chief Diversity Officer for McDonald's, wrote, "Our founder Ray Kroc once said, 'None of us is as good as all of us.'"

Added Harris, "This is a core value of McDonalds."

Harris' letter continued, "We treat our employees and our customers with respect and dignity, regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or other factors. We support out employees' personal involvement in organizations of their choice."

Added Harris in the letter to Wildmon, "McDonald's is a trusted and well-respected neighbor, employer and corporate citizen in communities across the U.S. We will continue to support our people and their right to lie and work in an inclusive society."

In response, the AFA has created a new Web site where the letter from Harris to Wildmon can be viewed. (The previous letter, from Wildmon to McDonald's, is evidently not available for viewing at the site.)

The Web site refers to a "gay agenda" and calls for viewers to print up petitions and contact McDonald's themselves.

Seethes the Boycott McDonald's Web site, "[The boycott] is about McDonald's, as a corporation, refusing to remain neutral in the culture wars."

Continued the online text, "McDonald's has chosen not to remain neutral but to give the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage."

The Web site also exhorts viewers to "Show your support!" and sign an online petition. (No explanation is offered as to what, exactly, the signer of the petition is supposed to be supporting.)

The boycott seems to stem, in part, from McDonald's having aired a television commercial in 2007 in the San Francisco market during Pride. The commercial, as quoted by the Boycott McDonald's Web site, said that McDonald's is "a company that actively demonstrates its commitment to the gay and lesbian community."

But more directly, the AFA's call for a boycott follows the company's acceptance of one of its officers, Vice President of Communications Richard Ellis, having joined the board of directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).

Notes online GLBT media source Good As You in a July 3 posting, "Like Disney and Ford before them, Mickey D's has become the latest American corporation to suffer at the baselessly extremist, rabidly anti-gay hands of Don Wildmon Inc."

Adds Good As You, "If ever there were a reason to eat carbs, gays, this just might be it!"

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.