Posted on November 5, 2021

McDonald’s CEO Blasted For ‘Racist’ Text Blaming Parents For Chicago Shootings

Scott Gleeson, USA Today, November 4, 2021

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski is under fire for comments recently made public in which he told Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot that parents of children killed in recent shootings “failed those kids.”

Kempczinski issued a company apology on Tuesday, noting his comments in April lacked “compassion and empathy,” but not before significant backlash, including a small protest Wednesday outside one of McDonald’s city headquarters.


Kempczinski, who was elevated to president of McDonald’s Corp. in 2016, initially made the comments in a text exchange with Lightfoot after the mayor’s visit to the McDonald’s campus on April 19. The texts were released through a Freedom of Information Act request for a separate incident looking into a police matter in Portland, Oregon.  {snip}

Kempczinski, 53, was referring to two shootings – one of 7-year-old Jasyln Adams (killed in a McDonald’s drive-thru April 18) and 13-year-old Adam Toledo (killed by a police officer March 29).

“With both, the parents failed those kids which I know is something you can’t say. Even harder to fix,” Kempczinski wrote in the message to Lightfoot.


Kempczinski’s expressed disappointment in himself, acknowledging privilege as a blinder, in a statement to McDonald’s corporate employees on Tuesday.


The protest organizers included organizations such as the Chicago Fight for $15 and a Union and Little Village Community Council. The letter called on Kempczinski to meet with community members within seven days, questioning the authenticity of “a company that spends big to market to communities of color and purports to stand with Black lives.”


A typical McDonald’s recruitment poster.