In 2014 and 2015, I attended the McDonald’s shareholders meetings and asked that they stop using Ronald McDonald – the Joe Camel of fast food – to market to kids. I was prepared to disrupt their dog and pony show again this year, but the fast food giant wants to shut out those who speak truth to power. As Sriram Madhusoodanan of Corporate Accountability International explained:
“This year, McDonald’s quietly changed the rules of its shareholders’ meeting to make it almost impossible for people who are most affected by its abusive practices to attend. It doesn’t want the demands of millions of people to get any airtime. It certainly doesn’t want its shareholders and the media to hear how it’s wrecking our food system, exploiting workers, and harming children’s health.
This year, although McDonald’s is doing its best to shut us out, we have big plans to make a splash during its shareholders’ meeting.”
Although I won’t be attending this year’s meeting, I won’t be silenced. I will be vocal on social media and am sharing the statement I had prepared:
My name is Casey Hinds, and I am speaking as a mother, a veteran and on behalf of Healthy Food America, an organization working to reduce the over-consumption of sugar. Once again, I am asking that you to stop sending Ronald McDonald into schools under the guise of education.
In October, the National Education Association (NEA) and more than 50 state and local teachers’ unions representing over 3 million teachers challenged you to end McTeacher’s Nights, your most exploitative form of kid-targeted marketing. This year you expanded your duplicitous approach to children’s health by creating an infomercial called 540 Meals which you used to infiltrate schools. This caused an immediate backlash with 90,000 signatures on a petition to keep the infomercial out of our children’s schools and national coverage of your exploitative tactics on the Today show.
McDonald’s is the only member of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative who won’t take the pledge to not advertise to children under 6 years old. Burger King, Campbell Soup, General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Kraft have all committed to not advertise to children under age 6 and McDonald’s sticks out like a sore thumb by refusing to make the same commitment.
You want to be seen as a “modern, progressive” company” but continue with regressive tactics like using schools as ads and telling kids that fast food is lovin’. You use children’s trust and respect for their teachers to sell cookies to a generation already overloaded with sugar and facing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes. You use Ronald McDonald, the Joe Camel of fast food, to lure kids into your restaurants where they see giant photos of Coca Cola plastered on your walls and Play Place windows.
Parents, teachers and health experts have had enough of your duplicitous approach. CEO Easterbrook, when will you end your exploitative practice of marketing to children?
(You can let McDonald’s know you’re fed up too by signing the petition at