Annual shareholder meetings are the one time when activists traditionally get a chance to berate corporate executives directly, trying to goad them into exchanges. And hey, McDonald's had a pretty decent one yesterday. Featuring racism charges!
Ad Age reports that one Michelle Dyre, "a young African-American woman and self-described millennial," got up and accused McDonald's CEO Don Thompson of targeting "children of color" with "predatory marketing," which she called "outrageous." (There is an ongoing campaign against the company regarding this issue.) You made one mistake, Michelle— you forgot that Don Thompson himself is black, which automatically insulates the McDonald's corporation from any and all charges of institutional racism or race-based exploitation! Checkmate! From Ad Age:
“I grew up in the neighborhood,” said Mr. Thompson, a native Chicagoan who is from Cabrini Green, a low-income public housing project...
Ms. Dyre also brought up athletes that appear in McDonald’s marketing such as LeBron James, Gabby Douglas and Venus Williams. “Not only does McDonald’s use athletes of color in advertising such as Gabrielle Douglas, Venus Williams and LeBron James, it also invokes culturally inappropriate stereotypes and borrows liberally from hip-hop culture, to aggressively target children of color.” Mr. Thompson said that the athletes “don’t view us as the brand you view us as.... We’re not the brand that you describe.”
You're quite mistaken, Michelle: the professional athletes being paid millions of dollars to cynically endorse McDonald's have a very positive view of McDonald's. It's right there in their contracts.
Don Thompson also told a nine-year-old girl yesterday, "we don't sell junk food, Hannah." So. These outrageous allegations will NOT be tolerated, this meeting is OVER.