McDonald’s denies that its recent partnerships with celebrities have anything to do with recent racial discrimination lawsuits against the company.
Last week, a historian told Vice that the two recent lawsuits – filed in January and September – could encourage the fast food chain to collaborate with rapper Travis Scott and Colombian singer J Balvin as a way to save face with colorful customers.
However, a McDonald’s spokesman told Fox News that the allegations were unfounded, in large part because the partnerships with Scott and Balvin were being prepared before the lawsuits were filed.
According to the spokesman, the partnerships took months to finalize, and were both inspired by a Super Bowl ad that McDonald̵
McDonald’s announced its partnership with Scott in September and its partnership with Balvin last week.
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The first discrimination lawsuit, filed in January by two Black McDonald’s executives, claimed they had been demoted because of their race and that there had been a hostile work environment for Black managers.
A second lawsuit filed in September by 52 former franchise owners alleges that McDonald’s prompted them to operate franchises in “depressed crime-ridden neighborhoods” and caused them to fail, Reuters reported at the time.
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In a Vice article published Thursday, Marcia Chatelein, a professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University, said McDonald’s could have partnered with Scott in response to these cases.
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“[I] I wonder if the decision to continue this collaboration is a response not only to criticism from Black franchisees about their attitude toward the McDonald’s system, but also to the pressure they face as a result of allegations of racial discrimination at the corporation headquarters. ” Chatelein, who wrote “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America,” told Vice.
“This has probably created a collaboration process with Travis Scott, if not necessarily to inspire him,” she added.
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In a statement emailed to Fox News, McDonald’s said the allegations were “completely untrue.”
“Any allegation that McDonald’s collaboration with Travis Scott began in response to recent litigation is completely untrue,” the company said. “We teamed up with Travis – and our newest celebrity partner Jay Balvin – because of their love of the McDonald’s brand, their widespread appeal and their loyal followers among our younger customers and our crew.”
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“As far as litigation is concerned, these allegations fly in front of everything we stand for as an organization and as a partner of communities and small business owners around the world,” the company added. “Not only do we categorically deny the allegations, but we are confident that the facts will show how committed we are to the diversity and equal opportunities of the McDonald’s system, including among our franchisees, suppliers and employees.”
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