Despite having a gay man as a mascot, McDonald’s has a losing record with queers. Most recently there’s the case of Crissy Polis who got a transphobic beatdown for using the restroom of a Baltimore County McDonald’s. This April 21-year-old Anthony Bray got beat up and called a “fucking faggot” by two men outside a NYC Micky D’s. But these aren’t isolated incidents. Let’s look over the entire menu of homo- and trans-phobic hate served up at the golden arches!
In May 2008, an employee at a Louisville restaurant called two gay guys “faggots,” and one a “cocksucker” and a “bitch.” (They settled the matter.) In September 2008, an HIV-positive Micky D’s employee working in Dubuque, Iowa, allegedly got slapped with a piece of cheese, called a “faggot rat,” and told to watch his back because he might get shot. He was then fired (and sued for wrongful termination.
And when it comes to trans people, McDonald’s has an even lousier record. You may remember Christina Sforza, a transwoman beaten with a lead pipe by a McDonald’s manager for shooting insulin in the woman’s bathroom. And then there’s the Orlando McDonald’s manager who left a voicemail for 17-year-old transwoman applicant, Zikerria Bellamy, explaining his refusal to hire her because “we do not hire faggots.”
Listening to his his message, you can actually hear the personal hurt in his voice when he asks, “How could you ever lie to me?” While it’s possible that the cowardly manager didn’t tell Bellamy about his “no faggots” policy during their interview because he didn’t realize she was trans until later, it also sounds as if he’s seen Bellamy applying at his location numerous times and finally worked up the chutzpah to leave a bold message on her machine—it’s a case of HR trans-panic that would make Mayor McCheese cry tears of fancy ketchup.
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund took up her case. In their own defense the company may point to their resolution of the Louisville, Kentucky case—in which, Micky D’s made their bigoted employees take diversity training and awarded $2,000 to the two “faggots”—as proof of their commitment to diversity. But that settlement hardly sets a precedent for avoiding such conflicts and harassment in the future.
But even still McDonald’s has an uneven record with the LGBT community. In October 2008, the bigoted American Family Association led a 5-month-boycott against the restaurant because a Micky D’s executive board member [UPDATE:
gave approved an organizational donation of] $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. When that executive resigned and went to work for McDonald’s Canada, Micky D’s would neither confirm nor deny that he had done so in response to the boycott.
But the clown could easily turn this frown upside down with a little retooling. If the 1 in 10 gay statistic is right, chances are they already have loads of gay employees slipping hot meat and special sauce between everyone’s buns. Their stock went up during the AFA boycott and so they’d have little to fear and much to gain if they’d simply make LGBT-sensitivity part of their orientation. That’d give them a much better legal cushion to fall back on should such an event happen again.
Even still, we recommend you get your daily allotment of deep-fried saturated fats elsewhere.