Maccas, it's time to take sexploitation off the menu

From an ex employee

McDonalds_Employee.pngOkay I will admit it, I was once an employee at the world's biggest restaurant chain, McDonald's. I was just about to turn 15. It was my first job. When I was hired on the spot and toured around the back of the restaurant I was in awe. There was so much hustle and bustle, beepers going off, staff calling out orders, but it ran like clockwork. 

I admired the fast paced yet highly organised environment. There was a rule for everything, a detailed procedure for each step. There were clear boundaries and clear goals. They were on a mission and they were getting there, fast. 

I began my induction and there were rules for how to wear your uniform, your tie, rules about bandaids and rules about hair. It was the perfect training ground for a young teenager. Learning work ethic and high standards.

I began on dining room duty. Rules about how to clean, where to put the trays. I then got promoted to fries, then to register and then eventually I was trained in closing up. I used to clean the shake and sundae machine. I would pull it apart at night and wash and lubricate every part. I didn't go home until the manager had inspected all the parts, sometimes critiquing them and asking me to lubricate them again if it wasn't done just right. 

I appreciated my McDonald's training and it has stayed with me through my various other careers. But what I don't understand is why a company like McDonald's, that had a rule about everything, seems to wash their hands clean of the sexually explicit music videos streaming from their in-store televisions across Australia. 


Parents all over the country have contacted us about the inappropriate hyper-sexualised content that their children are subjected to in McDonald's. In many of the cases the parents tried to speak to a manager, or contact the McDonald's head office, yet most complaints fell on deaf ears. 

The research is quite clear that sexually objectifying portrayals of women are harmful.  There are serious concerns over the impact of exposure to this content on others’ impressions of women and on women’s views of themselves.

Exposure can lead to:

  • higher levels of body dissatisfaction
  • greater self-objectification
  • greater support of sexist beliefs and of adversarial sexual beliefs
  • greater tolerance of sexual violence toward women
  • leads both women and men to have a diminished view of women’s competence, morality, and humanity

Knowing this information and having been an ex-employee I contacted McDonald's through their online portal in an attempt to arrange a face to face meeting so I could discuss it. I did not expect the response I got. 

Dear Coralie

Thank you for your reply, unfortunately there will be nobody you can meet with.



McDonald's Customer Service Team Leader

One sentence. No meeting. Door closed. 

I was appalled that out of their entire employee pool nationally not one person would be available to have a ten minute conversation with me about this. 

According to their website Maccas claims their values are:

We place the customer experience at the core of all we do
We are committed to our people
We believe in the McDonald’s System
We operate our business ethically
We give back to our communities
We grow our business profitably
We strive continually to improve

So I went back to Brooke highlighting the discrepancy between their company values and their lack of willingness to discuss the issue. She replied:


Thank you for your email, please be advised that the only person that would be able to meet with you is the customer service manager and she will listen to you and take your feedback on board although will not be able to discuss the matter further.

Kind Regards,


McDonald’s Customer Team Leader

I intend to take them up on this offer. However, if McDonald's claim to place the customer experience at the core of all they do why are they so determined to avoid this conversation. Companies need to exercise corporate social responsibility and McDonald's is no exception.

There's a lot of factors to take into consideration when running a business ethically, labour rights, animal rights, the environment and how you advertise your products. Included in this are ethics around what content you expose your customers to. 

Our petition is calling on McDonald's to implement a national policy about what content can be screened in their stores. It is not acceptable to serve up a side of soft porn with their happy meals. 

Our Corporate Social Responsibility Pledge encourages businesses to make a commitment to not objectify women or sexualise girls and we invite McDonald's to sign our pledge. 


How can you help? 

  • Sign the petition
  • Share the petition with your family and friends
  • Speak to your local McDonald's manager about what steps they are going to take to ensure their restaurant is family friendly. 
  • Chip in towards our campaign to help us make an even bigger impact. 
  • Tweet to @Maccas and tell them you're #NotBuyingIt 

Porn culture is hijacking our young people's sexuality and Maccas, you're a part of the problem. 

Showing 5 reactions

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  • commented 2016-09-19 12:48:17 +1000
    McDonalds promotes itself as a family friendly and community minded chain of stores. As a franchise arrangement they control their stores’ food, ordering and promotion. It therefore seems reasonable to expect that they would ensure that any TV content in their stores would family friendly and sexually explicit entertainment does not meet that criteria.
  • commented 2016-09-06 20:07:31 +1000
    What a ludicrous response from MacDonalds to your correspondence Coralie, as an ex professional marketer I am astonished. We don’t eat their unhealthy food and my teen declined to work there as she doesn’t want to peddle junk food or be part of that industry! We have voted with our feet !
  • commented 2016-09-05 16:07:23 +1000
    Not surprised they gave you this brush off. My son has been working at Macdonalds Dural NSW for nearly 2 years and as a parent I have found that they simply don’t care about work/life balance nor have they been upfront or organized in other matters. My attempts to make enquiries and address issues were met with similar brush offs. He is now resigning because I have had enough and because of the problems you have highlighted in your petition (which have not been apparent at his store to date because they didn’t have TV screens but as they are renovating will doubtless be part of the renovation) which he was not happy about either.
  • @CollectiveShout tweeted this page. 2016-09-02 15:42:50 +1000
  • @CollectiveShout tweeted this page. 2016-08-30 12:14:59 +1000

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