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Gay Group Severs Ties With McDonald's

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Jun 17, 2010 5:40PM

Photo by john.pierce
Oak Brook-headquartered McDonald's is coming under heat from LGBT activists following a contentious statement made by the company's number-two in a Tribune interview. In the interview, Don Thompson, the fast-food giant's chief of operations, referred to a gay-friendly television ad the company ran earlier in the year in France - and went viral globally - as a "mistake." Because Thompson is a Christian and because gays aren't part of the company's "core values," apparently, the ad will never run state-side:

"[A]t 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," Thompson said. "(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."

In response to Thompson's comments, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the country's largest LGBT business association, issued a letter cutting all ties with McDonald's.

"We strongly believe that McDonald’s plan to distance itself from LGBT and other diverse business segments, coupled with the release of the French TV ad, is ill advised and counter to the spirit of good business and sound ethics," the letter, which has since been removed from the NGLCC's site, read. "We sincerely hope that McDonald’s will reconsider its position and that the company will again show its support for LGBT people, our families and our businesses -- not just where it is politically expedient, but around the globe."

Interestingly, the seemingly innocuous ad has also ignited the far right in the U.S., though no negative response has been noted in France. Fox News host Bill O'Reilly suggested the ad's message - "Come as you are" - was proof the company would soon also produce ads targeting al Qaeda. In 2008, the American Family Association launched a boycott campaign against McDonald's when they sponsored the NGLCC and, according to the group, "[gave] the full weight of their corporation in promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage."

Watch the ad that started the whole gay ruckus after the jump.