McDonald’s USA has issued a statement denying that its meal partnership with Travis Scott was launched in response to racial discrimination lawsuits.
The statement was issued after a Vice report published earlier this week pointed out that the company’s partnership with Scott – and later J Balvin – came as the company was facing multiple racial discrimination lawsuits.
“McDonald’s should be in the doghouse when it comes to African Americans right now,” academic Chin Jou, the author of Supersizing Urban America: How Inner Cities Got Fast Food With Government Help, told Vice. “This Travis Scott juggernaut has been so successful at obfuscating other McDonald’s-related news items.”
McDonald’s, which had previously declined to comment to Vice, responded with a statement to the publication after the report was published.
“Any claim that McDonald’s collaboration with Travis Scott was launched in response to recent litigation is completely false,” the statement reads.
“We teamed up with Travis – and our newest celebrity partner, J Balvin – because of their love for the McDonald’s brand, their widespread appeal and their loyal following among our younger customers and our crew.”
The statement continues, “In regards to the litigation – these allegations fly in the face of everything we stand for as an organization and as a partner to communities and small business owners around the world. 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 opportunity of the McDonald’s System, including across our franchisees, suppliers and employees.”
At least two racial discrimination suits were filed against the fast food giant this year, Vice reported. The first was submitted in January by two senior McDonald’s executives, who alleged the chain “conducted a ruthless purge” of African-American staff and fostered a “hostile and abusive work environment” for Black employees.
The second was filed in September by 52 Black franchise owners accusing McDonald’s of “systematic and covert racial discrimination” by intentionally setting up their restaurants in low-income, high-crime locations. Coupled with high employee turnover rates, high operating costs and low profit margins, the plaintiffs claimed they did not receive adequate financial support and received poor internal reviews and denials of growth opportunities.
McDonald’s Corp. recently announced that Scott’s partnership helped boost their sales by 4.6 per cent in the three months ending in September in comparison to last year.
The limited edition ‘Travis Scott Meal’ deal went on sale last month in participating McDonald’s restaurants in the US. The Houston rapper also launched a McDonald’s-themed merch line to tie in with the partnership.