McDonald's CEO Says Global Boycott Fueled By "Misinformation" Has Caused "Meaningful Business Impact"

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Jan 04, 2024 - 08:45 PM

Some Western brands in countries where pro-Palestinian sentiment has been traditionally strong have been battered with boycotts as consumers turn to local alternatives following Israel's large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip in late October. 

McDonald's locations across the Middle East have been hit the hardest with boycotts since McDonald's Israel on X said it would give out 100,000 free meals. 

That's the moment when boycotts hit McDonald's operators across the Middle East. 

Bloomberg data in late October into early November shows the number of news headlines featuring "Boycott McDonald's" surged after the McDonald's Israel's X post and the IDF's subsequent invasion of Gaza on Oct. 27.

"Boycott McDonalds. Let them feel the hurt," said one X user who responded to McDonald's Israel post in October. 

Cairo resident Reham Hamed, who boycotted McDonald's, told Reuters in November: 

"I feel that even if I know this will not have a massive impact on the war, then this is the least we can do as citizens of different nations so we don't feel like our hands are covered in blood." 

Following the controversial McDonald's Israel X post, franchise groups in Kuwait, Pakistan, and other Middle East countries issued statements stating they disagreed with their Israeli counterparts. 

Folks are still boycotting the fast-food chain. 

Fast forward to Thursday morning. McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski wrote a LinkedIn post explaining that the Middle East boycotts have had a "meaningful business impact." He said the boycotts were "due to the war and associated misinformation." 

I also recognize that several markets in the Middle East and some outside the region are experiencing a meaningful business impact due to the war and associated misinformation that is affecting brands like McDonald's. This is disheartening and ill-founded. In every country where we operate, including in Muslim countries, McDonald's is proudly represented by local owner operators who work tirelessly to serve and support their communities while employing thousands of their fellow citizens. That local community connection is the genius of the McDonald's System.

Bloomberg noted franchises operate the majority of McDonald's restaurants around the world. The company generates about 10% of its revenues from the Middle East. 

It's not just McDonald's. Reuters said other Western brands, such as Starbucks and KFC, have been boycotted.