Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McDonalds: We "Will Neither Confirm Nor Deny"

McDonald's now will "neither confirm nor deny" using language that was intended to assuage antigay bigots, and that is a problem.

After the American Family Association called off its boycott of McDonald's, the fast food chain claimed, when reporters and activists inquired, that it wasn't in any way making a reversal on gay issues, seeming to contradict the often-distorting and manipulating AFA. This was not, however, something the company was clarifying from the roof tops nor explaining fully.

When our producer David Guggenheim contacted the company for a statement yesterday before show time -- in particular, what we wanted was a clarification of the specifics of the AFA's press release saying that McDonald's wouldn't follow a "homosexual agenda" as defined by the AFA -- we were told that a statement was forthcoming. Late in the day McDonald's sent a vague statement that didn't mention the words gay and lesbian (except for referring by name to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce), and still didn't clarify their position:

"As we've said all along, McDonald's stands by and supports our people. Diversity and inclusion are integral components of our brand and our heritage.

We continue to have strong employee networks throughout our company and will continue to align our brand with individuals and organizations that share our belief in supporting our people and the communities we serve.

Regarding Richard Ellis, he made a personal decision to step down from the Board of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce after he accepted a new position earlier this year with McDonald's Restaurants of Canada, Limited.

At McDonald's, we continue to value and respect everyone."
We wrote back again, specifically asking about the AFA's press release which contained a quote they said came from a McDonald's memo sent to franchisee's and which various media reported as a McDonald's memo:
"It is our policy to not be involved in political and social issues. McDonald's remains neutral on same-sex marriage or any 'homosexual agenda' as defined by the American Family Association," the memo said.

The response back from McDonald's p.r. firm regarding that quote?
McDonald's will neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the "e-mail to McDonald's franchised owners" referred to in the release.

Not good at all.