The Vice report cites two historians–Marcia Chatelain and Chin Jou–who spoke on the company’s history regarding race. The piece suggested that the partnership with Travis Scott was launched in response to recent discrimination lawsuits filed by former employees.
African American studies professor Marcia Chatelain said there is “no question” that the company launched the collaborations to “try to shore up brand recognition and brand loyalty for McDonald’s on the part of consumers of color.” The company has denied the allegations and the lawsuits filed against the company.
One lawsuit was filed by two former executives at McDonald’s back in January, in which individuals accused the company of conducting “a ruthless purge” of Black employees in management positions. The employees further alleged that McDonald’s fostered a “hostile and abusive work environment” for any Black executives and franchise owners at the company. The number of Black employees in such positions dropped from 42 in 2014 to just seven in 2019, the lawsuit added.
McDonald’s shared a statement with Complex, which reads:
“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.”
McDonald’s Corp. sales increased 4.6 percent in July, August, and September when compared to the same period in 2019. The company attributed the rise in profits to their collaboration with Travis Scott.