Remember that French McDonald’s commercial that featured a young gay man being young and gay? Well, an American executive at the McDonald’s corporation, Operations Chief Don Thompson, has FINALLY broken his legendary silence about the ad. And by “broken his silence” I of course mean “gingerly mumbled his way through a bunch of mildly homophobic gibberish.” His response, after being asked about the ad, from AdFreak:

It is an example that markets, cultures are very different around the world. I’ve never shied away from the fact that I’m a Christian. I have my own personal beliefs, and I don’t impose those on anybody else. I’ve been in countries where the majority of the people in the country don’t believe in a deity, or they may be atheist. Or the majority of the country is Muslim. Or it may be the majority is much younger skewed. So, when you look at all these differences, it’s not that I’m to be the judge or the jury relative to right or wrong. Having said that, at McDonald’s, there are core values we stand for, and the world is getting much closer. So, we have a lot of conversations. We’re going to make some mistakes at times. [We talk] about things that may have an implication in one part of the world and may be the cultural norm in another part of the world. And those are things that, yes, we’re going to learn from. But you’re right, that commercial won’t show in the United States.

Setting aside the fact that McDonald’s is garbage food and no one should eat it, regardless of their sexual orientation: WHAT IS THIS DUDE FUCKING TALKING ABOUT? He is a Christian but some people are Muslims? Perfect. It’s weird this genius isn’t Operations Chief of the World! (Also, what imaginary country has he been to where everyone is atheist?) Obviously, no one expected the ad to ever air in the United States. God forbid Bill O’Reilly’s HEAD EXPLODED. But is this guy seriously arguing that France (FRANCE!) is some alien planet? Some sort of hellish nightmarescape, I’m sure. “A place where human beings are allowed to be gay and enjoy a cheap, environmentally irresponsible hamburger loaded with fat, sugar, and sodium? ABSURD!”

Fuck McDonald’s Operation Chief Don Thompson.

Comments (100)
  1. Working for McDonald’s is gay.

  2. Sure American MacDonalds wont air the gay ad. But I’m sure they’ll be promoting their new Gangbang sandwich soon on stations across the country:

  3. That Don Thompson dude sounds like Sarah Palin.

  4. Wow the time stamping on the commentating feature is all kinds of screwed up and we are now time traveler voyagers. Remember Voyagers from the 80s? (Cut to shitty Family Guy style segment where the Videogum commentators have a lame non-sequiter 80s reference skit that isn’t funny.)

    • “hello, i am from the eighties. one of my features is exaggerated. the audience is so totally surprised that we made this joke for the nine thousandth time.”

  5. I don’t find this that inflammatory, but maybe I’m just jaded. I like that he said they are “having conversations”: trying to find ways to open themselves to other cultures instead of stubbornly hitching themselves to the increasingly radical marginalizing American Christian mindset. It’s tolerance and discourse by way of capitalism, but I’ll take it.

    • I’m personally fine with American gays not being commercially targeted by McDonald’s, because I like a lot of gay people and don’t think they should be eating literal crap. Neither should straight Christian fundies…I wouldn’t wish that food on my worst enemy, and that includes them.

    • It’s “hold your nose” tolerance. You don’t mention homosexuality, Islam and atheism and then say “it’s not that I’m to be the judge.” The implication is that the things previously listed are in need of judging. It’s intolerance masked beneath a congealed layer of Secret Sauce.

      • It is neither tolerance nor intolerance. It’s marketing! They want to sell cheeseburgers, not create cross cultural social norms relative to sexuality. The implication is that the things previously listed affect the way you market cheesburgers. Is Carls Jr. run by xenophobes because they didn’t show their Paris Hilton ad in Saudi Arabia?

        • Be mad at America because running this ad would hurt the sales of cheesburgers for McDonalds. Don’t be mad at McDonalds because they recognize this fact.

          • Since media influences political thought and discourse, and since media is controlled by corporations, it could be argued that corporations have moral responsibilities with regard to their media output. It might not be realistic, but you can’t pin the blame 100% on the consumer, since McDonald’s and other powerful corporations have a hand in shaping the beliefs of the consumer.

          • I disagree: McDonald’s marketing to a prejudice, even if it isn’t McDonald’s own prejudice, is still reprehensible. If anything, it is worse becuase it is based on making money rather than real, but ugly and misguided, principles. Making money on another’s hate is pretty much the worst.

            Also, I don’t think showing this ad in America would hurt McDonald’s that much. I would like to have some faith in the people of this country, or at least in their desire to eat fries.

          • That’s capitalism, Mans. Bleggggggghhhhh

            I find as I’m getting older and more aware of my surroundings [instead of when the next episode of Pokemon is on] I realize the evil inherent in corporations and capitalism that go unchecked without regulation and this starts to throw me into an anger spiral where I listen to Rage Against The Machine exclusively and read Noam Chomsky.

            #teenagergum!

          • Napoleon Complex: If you want a fun and life-changing way to fuel your anger at American Capitalism, try J R by William Gaddis.

            It is the jam.

            I would say that corporations aren’t evil–they are just pieces of paper on file. The real life human beings who run them, that is another story. Corporations are terribly efficient at what they do and can be used for good, such as a non-profit corporation. However, you mix the natural greed and innate baseness of humans with a corporate jurisprudence that has single-mindedly made maximizing shareholder profits as the only and ultimate goal of the corporation and you end up with something very terrible.

          • As a broke [hipster] girl who works at a bookstore and only gets paid in books and cookies, let me say that I would love to read this book, but only if we have it at my bookstore.

            Maybe the library.

          • Don’t worry–people sell back Gaddis novels all the time. It was published in the 70′s, so I am sure there are lots of used copies floating around.

          • I will most definitely look out for it. Thanks, Mans! UR THA BEST

        • Right but this statement isn’t marketing. This statement is about marketing. And he’s basically saying I’m a Christian; marketing made me do this. Like begrudgingly.

          • Which is not even really the right reason, if you think about it. The real, marketing-based reason that ad wouldn’t run in the U.S. is that it’s not a good commercial to run in the U.S.

            Think about the French ad again – dad takes kid to McDonald’s; kid conceals from dad the fact that he’s gay. Maybe successfully keeping a secret from your family is an important value in France, but in the U.S., it would create negative associations. “Ugh, McDonald’s – that place where my dad drags me to because he likes the senior coffee, but that I hate because I can’t be myself.”

            But man, would I love to see an American commercial where that kid comes out to his dad in the McDonald’s, maybe even introduces him to his boyfriend, and the dad is totally cool with it because the hash browns are just THAT GOOD. How about THAT commercial, Mr. Thompson?

  6. Blah blah blah, amirite?

    This thing knows.

  7. What does he mean “that commercial won’t show in the United States”? I’m from Uhmerica and watch stuff from Frants like every day. Hasn’t he heard of the interweb?

  8. So I read that guys quote multiple times, and I can’t find any indication that he is a homophobe. Also, the majority of Chinese are atheist. Last I checked China is a pretty big country on our planet.

    • Aren’t the majority of Chinese Buddhists?

      • Sort of. I’ve wondered the same thing. According to my Chinese sources (ie friends that live in the US that just recently moved here from China), they are not allowed to participate in a religion because of that whole Communist thing, but most are allowed and participate in Buddhist celebrations and the such more like a culture thing than a religious practice. I think it’s sort of like Thanksgiving in the US or 4th of July, but in a temple. I think that’s more what it’s like.

        Does anyone else have an insight?

    • really? b/c i read it multiple times too and it seems like he says in as diplomatic terms as possible: “McDonald’s doesn’t want to appear too tolerant in America, for fear of scaring away our base customers: white christians, just like me.”

      • Also translated, “We have no desire to create a media shit storm here in America over a commercial, because at McDonalds we are not in the business of creating shit storms. We are in the business of selling (shitty) hamburgers!”

  9. So, we have a lot of conversations…

    “So if we run one of those fag commercials in faggy France, does that mean those fags are going to by more of that shit we package? Sure, then – run it!”

    - Don Thompson

  10. “It may be the majority is much younger skewed” is the new huh?

  11. The gays eat McDonalds because it’s just like eating da poo poo, amirite? Because McDonalds meat is gross and tastes like poo.

  12. i hope that they do show it in the US. it will inspire dozens of gay teens to bring their fathers to mcdonalds. i came out to my father at mcdonalds. it was the perect way to introduce him to my new boyfriend – Big Mack

  13. I’m not sure how relevant this story is, but i’ll tell it anyway.

    One time, when my sister was working at McDonalds that is located inside of a Wal-Mart (my family raises ‘em gud), this lady and her son come in. My sister is the one taking their order and the kid wants a salad. No big deal, right? Not right. The mom is all like “nah yur gonna eat uh big mac” and the kid is all like “but mom, i just want a salad!” The mom aint havin none of dat shit and eventually forces her kid to get the big mac. Then i’m assuming they had an awkward conversation about how the kid is going to get so many lady girls or something.

    What i’m trying to say is that people who eat at McDonalds are also nightmares.

  14. It could be the fact that I haven’t had coffee yet, but whaaaa? I see that there are many words that he said, and that they are clearly supposed to relate to each other to form a coherent statement, but damned if I can figure it out.

    Also, I really want to know what the core McDonald’s values are. I presume that one important value is to kill us all with delicious sweet and sour sauce.

  15. Sure, countries where everybody’s young. Yes.

  16. And here I thought McDonalds was more of a capitalist operation. Please let McDonalds start segregating based on religious beliefs and sexual orientation. Then I won’t be allowed to buy their garbage food when I hate my life so much.

    • Oh man but there are so many other foods you could eat when you hate your life so much that aren’t THE WORST. So many more! You are better than McDonald’s, lizzing, no matter what the life-hating part of your brain says.

  17. In the future, we are all similar shades of beige and fast food has been replaced with Soylent Green.

  18. Don Thompson’s real name is Dick Thimpman… that’s why he’s so good at explaining advertising.

  19. I can’t quit you, videogum monstrosities

  20. I’m so glad that stupid statue got struck by lightning and burnt to the ground. I wasn’t “so glad” for that until I read this post. CLEARLY THE VENGEFUL OLD-TESTAMENT GOD THESE ASSHOLES BELIEVE IN DOES EXIST, AND HE ALSO THINKS THAT THEY ARE ASSHOLES.

  21. Czech Republic is over 90% atheist. Ironically, they’ve got lots of really nice churches and synagogues.

  22. Gabe, you forgot the tag “assholes.” That’s my favorite tag sometimes.

  23. Gabe – the Onion wishes they had thought of this post title first!

  24. When reached for comment, Tom Cruise had this to say:

  25. We’re here, we’re borderline diabetic, get used to it!

  26. you’re really stacking the deck against us mcdonalds lovers, god dammit

  27. This statement from Don Thompson hardly warrants a “Fuck you.” There’s also nothing confusing about what he’s saying. It’s common knowledge that European culture/any other part of the world culture is different than American culture, and he’s making a choice that he doesn’t want to run the ad here. I’m completely sure there’s been scads of market research and it didn’t test well here — and if that’s the case, he’d be a horrible Operation Chief to let it run in an area he had control over. He comes right out and says that he doesn’t impose his beliefs on others, but he doesn’t want to run the ad. Saying “fuck you” to him is like a hippie saying “fuck you” to someone who got a job. Come on, man. When we’re making fun of obviously crazy people/things (ALVIN GREENE) then it’s funny, but this guy was just making what he thought was a smart business decision. To sum up? You mad.

  28. I respect cultural differences, but yeah, I really can’t seem to find the relevance of whatever he’s saying. I guess his words are are as empty as his food!

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