McDonald’s Macs On Gay Patrons with Rainbow Fries

Are these ‘gay pride’ McDonald’s fries crass commercialism, or a good-taste Pride homage to the LGBTQ community? We have a McFlurry of opinions.

Corporate fast-food behemoth McDonald’s is attempting to McDouble their respect from the LGBTQ+ community for this month’s Pride celebrations by serving their french fries in a special edition “rainbow fries” box. The Pride-themed french fry boxes will continue being served for the remainder of June’s LGBT Pride Month proceedings, but we can’t help but wonder — should this promotion delight the gay community’s taste buds, or should it give us indigestion?

We’ve gobbled up a ton of information on this rainbow fries promotion to determine whether the LGBTQ+ community should be Lovin’ It or Hatin’ It on this fast-food Pride gimmick.

Lovin’ It: LGBTQ Visibility – The community has responded pretty well (at least, George Takei has!)  and it’s always empowering for any historically disenfranchised population to get some support from any entity in Corporate America.

Hatin’ It: It’s a Targeted Regional Promotion – As the Chronicle notes, McDonald’s is only serving these fry boxes in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C. (whose Pride was last weekend, and featured the flagship National Equality March). In other words, the two places in America that will have the highest levels of gay tourism this month. These fry boxes are not being served in, say, Tulsa, Oklahoma or Fort Worth, Texas where they might actually make anyone feel differently about LGBTQ+ rights.

Lovin’ It: McDonald’s Does Hire The Gays – McDonald’s is not an anti-LGBTQ chain like Chick-Fil-A or Cracker Barrel. According to the McDonald’s corporate Inclusion and Diversity page, they do offer a Lesbian Gay Career Development course for LGBTQ managers and executives, and have a McDonald’s PRIDE Network for internal employee support. McDonald’s scored 100 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2017 Corporate Equality Index.

Hatin’ It: No Charitable Component Whatsoever – Unlike the Burger King Proud Whopper of 2014, whose proceeds did benefit LGBTQ high school kids, not a penny of rainbow fries sales goes to any gay rights cause, charity, or youth program. McDonald’s is just greasing their own palms with the sales of these fries.

Lovin’ It: Conservatives Are Pissed – As when any corporation takes any remotely progressive stand, conservatives are predictably outraged at this perceived blasphemy and are calling for boycotts. McDonald’s had to know this was coming, and they should be commended for sticking to their guns.

Hatin’ It: McDonald’s Political Donations Skew Conservative – Like a lot of mega-corporations, McDonald’s has its own political action committee (PAC). A 2016 Eater analysis found that McDonald’s PAC donations favor conservative candidates and causes by a 63-37 margin. Further, McDonald’s CEO Andrew McKenna is a reliable ATM for conservative donations and donates pretty much exclusively to Republicans.

So the McDonald’s rainbow fries are not unlike McDonald’s food itself. You either love it or you hate it, you’re probably not going to change your mind, and its nutritional value remains highly debatable.  

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