McDonald’s CEO says ‘misinformation’ about its stance on the Israel-Gaza war is hitting sales

Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images © Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • The CEO of McDonald’s says “misinformation” about its Israel-Gaza stance is affecting its business.
  • Some people boycotted the chain after McDonald’s Israel began giving thousands of free meals to the IDF.
  • Chris Kempczinski said some of the information was “disheartening and ill-founded.”

The CEO of McDonald’s says that “misinformation” about its stance on the Israel-Gaza war, which in some cases has led to a boycott of the burger giant, is hitting its financials.

Chris Kempczinski noted that it was having a “meaningful” impact on the business in a LinkedIn post on Thursday reflecting on McDonald’s developments in 2023.

Calls for a boycott began after McDonald’s Israel that it was giving thousands of free meals a day to the Israel Defense Forces, as well as to hospitals and people living near its border with the Gaza, after Hamas launched terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 Israelis.

Israel soon started retaliatory attacks. Gazan health authorities said this week that over 22,000 Palestinians have now been killed in the region since October 7, per Al Jazeera, while the IDF says 170 Israeli soldiers have been killed.

McDonald’s Israel said in mid-October that since the war had broken out in the Middle East, it had donated more than 100,000 meals, worth 5 million Shekels (more than $1.3 million).

It said that it was also giving a 50% discount to all security and rescue forces who visited its restaurants.

Some McDonald’s franchisees, like the operator of its restaurants in Pakistan, have distanced themselves from its Israeli business.

“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,” Kempczinski wrote in his LinkedIn post.

“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,” he added.

Businesses are being scrutinized for their response to the ongoing conflict. Zara pulled an ad campaign after comments that the photos seemingly resembled images from the war.

US college campuses have also become a flashpoint as debate over free speech rages. The presidents of both the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard have stepped down following intense public scrutiny over their response to alleged rising antisemitism on campus.

“Our hearts remain with the communities and families impacted by the war in the Middle East,” Kempczinski wrote. “We abhor violence of any kind and firmly stand against hate speech, and we will always proudly open our doors to everyone.”

Source: Business Insider