When the big wigs of the world’s largest fast food corporation gather every year, it’s a perfect opportunity for protestors to have their voices heard. McDonald’s—with its deceptive marketing, highly-questionable ingredients, and underpaid staff—is a symbol for everything that’s wrong with the American food system. As such, their annual shareholders meetings have become a hot bed of protests, and the company isn’t happy about it.
This year, thousands of protestors gathered outside the two-day meeting at McDonald’s headquarters in Oak Brook, IL. Protests were also planned in 30 other countries around the world and a few dozen cities in the U.S. They called for higher wages, more food transparency, and simply more accountability from one of the corporations fueling the obesity epidemic.
“This will be the largest labor protest that McDonald’s ever faced,” said Kendall Fells of the Fast Food Forward group, according to USA Today.
Another group represented at the meeting protests was #MomsNotLovinIt, a group of mothers and concerned consumers from around the country most focused on curbing the marketing of junk food to kids.
Last year, the meeting garnered similar crowds, with some of the critics even addressing the shareholders.
Nine-year old Hanna Robertson had the microphone when she told them their restaurant is partially responsible for children being obese and affected by Type 2 diabetes.
“It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time,” her statement reads.
In response, among other things, CEO Don Thompson outright lied, telling Robertson, “First off, we don’t sell junk food, Hannah.”
Thompson went on to tell more tall tales during a Q&A session, as AlertNet reports. Among them:
- That chicken nugget Happy Meals with fat-free milk are a healthy option.
- That they sell “real beef, real chicken, real tomatoes….real eggs,” despite their “eggs” and other foods containing a laundry list of additional ingredients.
- That they follow guidelines on responsible marketing to children.
- That they don’t market food to children at all (interesting statement considering the one he made above).
- That they are not the cause of obesity.
While the corporation may not like all the attention they are getting at their annual shareholders meetings, it seems that attention is warranted when the CEO feels free to spout destructive half-truths and all-out lies.