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July 8, 2008

Stupid Protest: McDonald's Loves the Gays!

The stupid protests just keep coming! The Starbucks mermaid is slutty... Dunkin Donuts dresses Rachael Ray like a terrorist... taking birth control pills will stop you from having babies (um, isn't that the point?)

...and now McDonald's is like, totally gay! Or that is they totally support the gays, which is just as bad, right?

Now it's not what you're thinking... this has nothing to do with Ronald McDonald. You'd think he would be the source of any homophobia directed toward MickeyD's... I mean, he's got all the trademark signs of being a big ol' drag queen: tons of makeup, outrageous wig, brightly colored outfit, large shoes...

But no. It has nothing to do with Ronald at all. It has more to do with Richard Ellis. Ellis - Vice President of Communications at McDonald's - recently took a position on the Board of Directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). And apparently McDonald's didn't condemn him for it so that means they are "promoting a lifestyle that would utterly destroy the traditional family"! Scandalous! McDonald's is a "Corporate Partner and Organization Ally" (that basically means they donated a chunk of money) of NGLCC, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities for the LGBT community.

The idiots behind the stupid protest are the American Family Association, the same group that has boycotted other huge companies for being a little too gay-friendly, like Wal-Mart, Ford, and of course Disney (which is just silly, because that's like boycotting Oprah or Jesus Chrsit... nothing can stop Disney!)

They've launched a new website (appropriately titled BoycottMcDonalds.com) asking us to... you know, boycott McDonald's. There is so much wrong with this boycott (and so much wrong with the AFA's arguments) that I almost don't know where to begin... so I guess I'll just begin... at the beginning.

What the boycott of McDonald's IS NOT about
This boycott is not about hiring homosexuals.
It is not about homosexuals eating at McDonald's.
It is not about how homosexual employees are treated.

What the boycott of McDonald's IS about
It is about McDonald's, as a corporation, refusing to remain neutral in the culture wars. 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.

Okay, first of all I think it's hilarious that they even felt the need to mention "it is not about homosexuals eating at McDonalds", but the bigger issue is this whole 'neutrality' thing. Why does McDonald's have to be neutral? I'm sure if they were supporting more 'conservative' causes, the AFA would have no problem with it. "They're not neutral!" is such a cop-out argument. In my opinion remaining 'neutral' when it comes to gay rights, is not much better than being against gay rights. (That is, if you see injustice in the world and don't try to stop it, you're no better than those who are directly responsible for those injustices).

We expect huge corporations, like McDonald's to have a certain level of 'corporate responsibility'. We don't ask them to be neutral about other issues... they have funded programs devoted to the environment, to children's health (e.g., Ronald McDonald House charities), to leadership development and community outreach, etc.

The AFA meticulously dissected and responded to an email/press release/some kind of document from the McDonald's corporation. (They're not exactly clear where they found this document; it has been reprinted all over the anti-gay and Christian websites.... but I can't find any direct reference to it from any sources). I've decided to dissect and respond to their responses...

[From AFA.net]

The statements in bold below are those made by McDonald’s, followed by AFA’s responses.

“At McDonald’s, we treat all our employees and customers with dignity and respect regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or any other differentiating factor.”

We are not telling McDonald’s who they can hire to work for the company, nor are we demanding that they stop serving Big Macs to homosexual customers.

This issue is about the world’s largest fast food chain allying itself and partnering with an organization that lobbies Congress to enact laws that we feel can be used to repress religious freedom or undermine the sanctity of marriage.

Okay. They're upset that a huge corporation has teamed up with a gay rights organizations. I get it. If I was anti-gay rights, I suppose I'd be pretty miffed about this as well. But wait... is the NGLCC actually trying to repress religious freedom and undermine the sanctity of marriage?

According to their website, the organization is focused on economic issues as they relate to the LGBT community. They call themselves a "direct link between Corporate America and LGBT businesses and entrepreneurs" and well, McDonald's is part of Corporate America. The NGLCC isn't trying to undermine religious freedom; they're trying to fight discrimination. It's true that while you're fighting discrimination as it applies to business, discrimination issues as it applies to the rest of life are going to cross over, you know just like they do for hetereosexual business owners too.
“While one McDonald’s employee is affiliated with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), McDonald’s is in no way ‘aggressively promoting the homosexual agenda’ as suggested in the newsletter.”

To refer to Richard Ellis, who is the vice president of communications for McDonald’s, as “one McDonald’s employee,” as if he is a teenager flipping hamburgers, is disingenuous at best.

While “aggressively” is admittedly a subjective term, AFA believes that giving money to and partnering with a homosexual lobby organization is certainly an enthusiastic promotion of the homosexual agenda.
Okay, yes it's true Richard Ellis is more than just an employee. However, for a corporation as HUGE as McDonald's, his vice presidency is not that high up on the ranks. (He didn't even make it to their main list of executives, as given on the McDonald's website). But regardless of his position, the fact remains that he is still just one person and hardly represents the entire company. (In fact, according to McDonald's VP Jack Daly, Ellis personally approved the donation to the NGLCC).

The AFA openly admits that "aggressively" is a subjective term. I think making a donation is far from aggressive. If anything it's passive aggressive; aggressive would be Ronald McDonald marching around with a rainbow flag. I haven't yet seen any gay rights activism coming from the McDonald's corporation, but even if you can say that their "enthusiastic" donation is aggressive... So what? They're aggressively promoting non-discrimination; not the homosexual agenda.

What's with this whole "homosexual agenda" thing anyway? What exactly is the homosexual agenda...? To be treated like human beings? How dare they!

“The NGLCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to support economic opportunities for the gay and lesbian business community.”

It is quite clear from the NGLCC Web site that that organization not only supports “economic opportunities” for homosexuals, it also lobbies Congress on a wide range of issues related to the gay agenda.
There's that word again... "agenda". The NGLCC may lobby Congress on a wide range of issues, however at the core of those issues is non-discrimination (and as a result, economic opportunities). Of course, the NGLCC is going to lobby on issues like same sex unions, because as much as the AFA would hate to believe it, that does relate to business (e.g., domestic partner benefits equity).

“In addition to McDonald’s, there are numerous other Fortune 500 companies that serve as corporate partners with NGLCC.”

AFA rejects this “everybody’s doing it” excuse offered by McDonald’s, and is asking the fast food company to remain neutral in these controversial skirmishes of the culture war.

Yeah, but everyone else is doing it! The other members of the Board of Directors include execs from companies such as IBM, Wells Fargo, and Motorola. They have a shitload of big time corporate partners, including American Express, Pepsico, and even our buddies over at Merck. Why should McDonald's have to remain neutral, but no one else? In fact, I don't think there are very many companies that do remain neutral on issues that matter... why should McDonald's be the exception?
“All references to comments from Jim Skinner, McDonald’s CEO in the Action Alert Newsletter are complete fabrications.”

Our Action Alert assumed that Mr. Skinner’s comments were specifically addressing the promotion of the gay agenda, when they were not. We apologize for any confusion this has caused.

However, the actual comments attributed to Mr. Skinner were not fabricated, but instead came from McDonald’s own Web site. They were a direct quote of Mr. Skinner’s comments, posted by Vice President Bob Langert, made by Mr. Skinner at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in 2007.

When Mr. Skinner said, “We have an obligation to use our size and resources to make a difference in the world,” we now have come to believe that part of that vision, as evidenced by McDonald’s partnership with the NGLCC, is the promotion of the gay agenda.
I agree that McDonald's is obligated to use their resources to make a difference in the world and I think diversity is a pretty good cause. I'm pretty sure that promotion of the gay agenda isn't the only cause they care about... or even one of the main ones they care about. But I'm certainly glad that they do care. Of course, the AFA isn't too happy about that... but eh, they suck anyway.

The AFA has posted a letter (written by Pat Harris, Global Chief Diversity Officer of McDonald's) on their website and we're all supposed to be outraged by what it says. But you know what, I'm not really much outrage at this letter. In fact, I think it's pretty damn awesome. I trust you will too.

The AFA isn't alone... Apparently the Family Research Council is also on the McNugget-boycott. They've supplied all the conservative bigots with a sample letter to McDonald's... and well, it made me laugh, so I'm posting it. (
This version of the letter has even more comical additions, [in brackets] from the Yoests, who make me laugh and cry simultaneously... not in a good way).
We are writing to request that you end your "Corporate Partnership" with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and refrain from making corporate contributions to this or other homosexual organizations.

[If individual members of the board of McDonald's wishes to give to any charity, have it your way, so to say -- but a corporation should not use earnings for charity. Charity is a test of the individual heart -- not corporate or government largess.]

Um, what? Since when should corporations not use earnings for charity? Aren't corporations typically huge contributors to charitable causes? Aren't we always pushing for corporations to use their money and power for good?

We also request that you adopt a policy which would prevent your corporate officers from using the McDonald's corporate name to lend legitimacy to work they may do for such organizations. The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce exists to generate business for companies that are owned by homosexuals. While we do not object to McDonald's doing business with any suppliers who can provide a quality product or service at a good price, we also do not understand why anyone would engage in affirmative steps to seek out suppliers based on their sexual behavior, or assist in promoting businesses for that reason.

Now, McDonald's does not "seek out suppliers based on their sexual behavior". They just don't discriminate against a particular supplier based on it either. The NGLCC does not exist merely to generate business for gay-owned businesses. They aim to protect these businesses and business owners from discrimination.

[Your Business Blogger (R) has spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in McDonald's PlayPlaces. I'm not sure I've ever seen a homosexual in a McDonald's. The demographics do not fit the fast food market segment.

No. The homosexuals do not want to eat at McDonald's any more than they really want to serve in the military. Homosexuals are on a marketing campaign for normalcy. And they are looking for a stamp of approval in basic cultural institutions: Ronald McDonald, marriage and the military.]

This part made me pee a little. They've never seen a homosexual in McDonald's... because you know, all homosexuals are immediately recognizable as homosexuals. And why exactly does the homosexual demographic not fit the fast food market segment? Are you saying that gay people don't like chicken nuggets!? Do they like chicken nuggets more or less than they like serving in the military? (I also think it's hilarious that their basic cultural institutions of 'normalcy' are the military, marriage, and Ronald McDonald. Ronald McDonald is anything but normal).

However, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce does not exist just to promote the economic interests of their members. They also promote an extensive political agenda, including explicit support for legislation and litigation that would:

  • Undermine the unique treatment granted to marriage between one man and one woman under the law
  • Treat homosexual and "transgender" behavior on the same basis as race under federal civil rights laws
  • Label disapproval of homosexual behavior a form of "hate" under so-called "hate crime" laws.

Can you say "duh"? How exactly do they think the NGLCC can promote the economic interests of its members without promoting political and legislative change?

They believe in marriage rights for same-sex couples, both because marriage should be a fundamental right given to all adult human beings... Why fight against discrimination in the workplace and then put up with discrimination in your personal life? Also, marriage laws relate to business on many levels, particularly health insurance benefits and income.

Giving homosexual and transgendered people basic human civil rights most definitely applies to economic interests, because if it's not illegal to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, then how exactly are they free to run their businesses as they see fit? Also they seem to be a little confused about how it is that being gay actually works... it's not just about the "behavior", it's about the person. But as for hate crimes... it seems they have no idea what that means. Bias-motivated crimes are typically defined as those where the victim was targeted because of his or her race/religion/sexual orientation/etc. It is not merely "disapproval of homosexual behavior", but rather crimes motivated by that disapproval (or you know, motivated by hate). You can disapprove of homosexuality as much as you want, but once you take that "disapproval" and turn it into assault, harassment, abuse, etc... that's a hate crime and yes, it should be against the law!

[Parents should ask if McDonald's will embrace open unisex restrooms where transgenders and transvestites and cross-dressers can have proximity to the wee ones.]
Yeah, because "transgenders and transvestites and cross-dressers" are really dangerous to children. (Insert eyeroll here). How fucking idiotic is that? Who exactly lets their "wee ones" go to a public restroom alone anyway? I'd be more concerned that they'd be kidnapped by some psychopath, than approached by a cross-dresser. (I mean, really... drag queens stand out in their flamboyant outfits... and those high heels are hardly practical for abducting children). I'd much rather my kids be around transgendered people than conservative bigots. In fact, I kind of wish I knew more transgendered people, just so I could show my kids first hand that they're... people.

The NGLCC promotes a controversial social and political agenda that is offensive to tens of millions of your customers. A corporation like McDonald's, which prides itself on providing a family-friendly product in a family-friendly environment, should not be associated with any narrow political agenda. Thank you for considering my views.

Yeah, and I would hope that a corporation that prides itself on being family-friendly, would be friendly towards all kinds of families. I think if McDonald's were to withdraw their support of groups like the NGLCC, that promote diversity and non-discrimination, then they would be associated with a whole other narrow political agenda... one that is even more controversial and offensive.

Now there are plenty of reasons to not eat at McDonald's, but this isn't one of them. The AFA and FRC and the rest of the uptight people would like us all to boycott McDonald's and let them know why... I instead urge you to contact McDonald's corporate headquarters and let them know how happy you are they support diversity in all its forms. I'm not going to urge you to actually eat at McDonald's unless that's something you already enjoy doing (and aren't overly susceptible to diarrhea). To locate a McDonald's near you: Restaurant Locator.


Jezebel said...

Well, with this boycott added to the protests against Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, it's no wonder these right-wingers are so extra cranky lately - they're caffeine deprived because they've run out of places to go for iced coffee.

And I guess the AFA's position against corporate charity means that they want McDonalds to kick all of the sick kids out of the Ronald McDonald house. Compassionate conservatives!

Anonymous said...

I ate at McDonald's today, just on principle.