The hidden truth behind McDonald’s celebrity meals

Travis Scott enjoys his very own meal.

Travis Scott enjoys his very own meal.

Alex Kajda, Staff Writer

It sounded too ridiculous to be true from the moment it was announced. Travis Scott partnering up with McDonald’s? It had to be a joke or a false rumor, right? It wasn’t, and the memes and virality of the situation spiraled out of control, becoming one of the most talked about events from the moment the meal became an item at McDonald’s stores on September 8th.

The meal wasn’t anything special, just a Quarter Pounder with bacon and lettuce, fries with BBQ sauce, and a Sprite. Same goes for the more recently launched and internationally appealing J Balvin meal, which is just a Big Mac, fries, and an Oreo McFlurry. The meals add nothing new, and while one might just assume a simple PR stunt and a way for McDonald’s to get more sales (not like they really need more anyway), some uncovered truths point to a more sinister intention behind these meals.

What many may not know is that McDonalds is currently in the midst of two lawsuits accusing the company of racial discrimination. The first lawsuit was filed by Vicki Guster-Hines and Domineca Neal, who claim that the company “conducted a ruthless purge” of African Americans in high positions and had a “hostile and abusive work environment,” claims which are strengthened by statistics that show that the number of African-American employees in upper-level positions at McDonald’s went from 42 in 2014 down to seven in 2019 (VICE). Both Guster-Hines and Neal also claim that their own demotions were rooted in race.

The second lawsuit, filed by 52 former African-American franchise owners, claims that McDonald’s “pushed to open locations in low-income, high-crime areas in which employee turnover is at its highest. In addition, they have claimed Black franchisees had not received appropriate financial support and garnered harsher internal reviews than their white peers” (Complex). In short, claiming that these franchises were set up for failure and poorly managed by the higher ups in the company. McDonald’s has responded to, and denied all allegations, claiming that the partnerships were finalized prior to the lawsuits being filed. Local lawsuits in the Tampa area have also been filed, with two African-American employees being recently fired after filing one, claiming that their manager made racist comments and assigned African-Americans to lower-level tasks.

Many find the timing of the meals suspect and claim that a cover-up looks pretty obvious. Many also point to the use of a prominent African American recording artist in Travis Scott as fishy as well, making the rumors of a cover-up seem more likely with each detail. The press that the Travis Scott and J Balvin meals received have all but blocked out news relating to the lawsuits and some point towards this being completely intentional.

While McDonald’s continues to find success and boosts their sales through their celebrity meals, an eye should be kept on these lawsuits to see their results. If McDonald’s falls into a deeper hole, you might just expect to see more of these celebrity meals pop up to overshadow the controversy beneath.