Not lovin’ it: McDonald’s faces backlash for woke diversity, equity, inclusion assessment

McDonald’s is facing backlash for fully embracing the left’s widely criticized “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) agenda, a move that critics suspect will lead to even more “woke” activism and pandering from the fast-food chain.

Last week McDonald’s shareholders voted “in favor of a proposal calling for an independent civil-rights audit,” according to Bloomberg.

“The vote was a close one and one of several contentious issues on the ballot at the virtual stockholders meeting Thursday, with 52% of votes cast in favor of the proposal, 47% against and the remainder abstaining. McDonald’s didn’t allow media to listen to the meeting,” Bloomberg reported on May 26th.

“While the vote is nonbinding, failing to follow through wouldn’t look good, according to Nell Minow, who advises companies about corporate governance as vice chair at ValueEdge Advisors. Even before the vote, large shareholders including Norges Bank and the State Board of Administration of Florida voiced their support for an audit,” the outlet added.

Seven days later on June 2nd, The Wall Street Journal confirmed that McDonald’s has since “tapped a third party to assess its efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion” as part of the civil rights audit.

This move strongly suggests that McDonald’s intends to double, triple, and quadruple down on its “woke” activism and pandering:

The Wall Street Journal notes that the proposal for a civil rights audit emanated from a labor pension fund advisory firm known as the SOC Investment Group.

“As a self-described ‘place of opportunity,’ McDonald’s has an immense amount of influence to demonstrate that it is truly a leader when it comes to equity and fairness. It claims to be committed to accelerating a culture of belonging and dismantling barriers to economic opportunity, but as concerns about its business model show, it is unclear how McDonald’s is being inclusive in practice,” the firm wrote in a letter to shareholders last month.

“The only way shareholders can be confident that McDonald’s actions are contributing to its stated goals is through an audit—a civil rights audit of the sort performed in recent years by some leading companies. Civil rights audits are an objective evaluation of the effectiveness of a company’s policies, practices, and products in addressing the company’s civil rights impact on marginalized stakeholders based on their race, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or national origin, among other characteristics.”

By agreeing to the SOC Investment Group’s demands and recruiting a DEI firm, McDonald’s has, it would appear, fully embraced the left’s agenda.

It’s ironic because one of the company’s iconic former executives, Ed Rensi, who served as the president and CEO of McDonald’s USA from 1991 to 1997, is a huge anti-“woke” activist.

As previously reported in April, Rensi is leading a coalition designed to push back against “woke” corporations, including apparently McDonald’s.

The lesson he hopes to teach “woke” companies via his coalition is to “stay out of culture wars,” he explained at the time in an op-ed for Fox Business Network.

“The broader lesson here for corporate America: Stay out of culture wars. Hundreds of major American companies have taken a stand on public policy issues in recent years. For instance, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Starbucks, Netflix, and General Motors, have opposed state laws over the past year to enhance ballot integrity,”  he wrote.

“These positions threaten to alienate customers and harm shareholder value. Companies can’t just dip their toe into these issues. Once they’ve waded in, activists will expect them to take a stance on every forthcoming topic. The only solution is to stay out altogether unless the policy proposal directly affects their bottom lines.”

McDonald’s apparently didn’t listen, and already the ramifications are being seen on social media:


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Vivek Saxena


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