According to Vice, two historians, Marcia Chatelain and Chin Jou have spoken out about the McDonalds’ history regarding race. They say that Mcdonalds’ partnership with Travis Scott and J Balvin was launched in response to recent discrimination lawsuits filed by former employees.
African American studies professor Chatelain, who works at Georgetown University, believes that there is “no question” that the company launched the collaboration to “try to shore up brand recognition and brand loyalty for McDonald’s on the part of consumers of color.” Mcdonald’s has denied the allegations regarding the collaboration, and the lawsuits filed against them by employees.
In January, one lawsuit was filed by two former executives that accused Mcdonald’s of conducting “a ruthless purge” of their Black employees in management positions. The employees also alleged that the company promoted a “hostile and abusive work environment” for any of the Black executives and franchise owners. Mcdonald’s went from having 42 black employees in such positions in 2014 to seven in 2019.
The second discrimination lawsuit was filed by 52 of its Black franchise owners, claiming that the company took part in “systematic and covert racial discrimination” for decades. Franchise owners claim that the company wanted to open locations in low-income and high-crime areas with high employee turnover rates. They also allege that they have not received any appropriate financial support and that they receive harsher internal reviews than their white peers.
Mcdonald’s USA shared a statement with Complex that read: “Any claim that McDonald’s collaboration with Travis Scott was launched in response to recent litigation is completely false. 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.”
It was reported last week that Mcdonald’s Corp. sales increased 4.6 percent in July, August, and September when compared to the same time period in 2019. The partnership with Travis Scott also included multiple merchandise collections that quickly sold out.