Thursday, April 03, 2008

'And why is there no Mrs. Ronald?'

This just in from the lunatic fringe: McDonald’s is promoting a homosexual agenda, if not homosexuality itself. The story may have slipped by such hack media as The New York Times, CNN and The Financial Times, but the vast left-wing conspiracy couldn’t push it past the newshounds at, otherwise known on the net as WingNutDaily.

The site—“A Free Press for a Free People”—broke the news Sunday that the chain “famed for the Golden Arches, Ronald McDonald and kids meals has signed onto a nationwide effort to promote ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ business ventures.” The story cited the incontrovertible proof: McDonald’s USA’s vice president of corporate communications, Richard Ellis, was elected to the board of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Ellis even acknowledged that he was “thrilled” to be chosen, and shared the organization’s “passion” for promoting business within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The insinuations were clear. McDonald’s may strive to be as wholesome as American Pie and a John Birch Society picnic, but it’s secretly celebrating diversity and opportunity for all. It may even have an Obama-supporting Democrat within its executive ranks.

The story was illustrated with a picture of a poster promoting McDonald’s kids meals. It depicted a boy dressed as a pirate and a girl in princess garb, no doubt secretly listening to Melissa Etheridge tunes in the background.

The story drew a combination of disbelief and ridicule from sectors of the blogosphere where most contributors walk upright and believe the moon landing wasn’t staged in a soundset. But the knuckle-dragging forces of reaction jumped on the report as proof we’re one cross-dresser away from outlawing heterosexual marriage and weaving a pentacle into the flag.

Those of us who cover foodservice have often remarked that the industry’s overt commitment to diversity often stops short of expressly welcoming persons of all sexual orientations. McDonald’s is showing itself once again to be a leader by working with the NGLCC. It may catch heat from the black-helicopter crowd planning to build a new community in the mountains of Idaho, but it’s demonstrating how attuned to the modern world it intends to stay. No wonder its sales have remained strong while many competitors wheeze and stumble.

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