Don Thompson, the number 2 executive at McDonald's, spoke about the company's French TV commercial featuring a gay teenager, and he says such an ad would not run in the United States because of different "cultural norms."
Thompson, who took the job of chief of operations in January, spoke with the Chicago Tribune by telephone from South Africa earlier this month. Here is an excerpt from their conversation:
Tribune: A French TV ad featuring a gay teen and his father has stirred some controversy -- not there but here. Can you talk about that?
Thompson: It is an example that markets, cultures are very different around the world. [For instance,] I've never shied away from the fact that I'm a Christian. I have my own personal beliefs and I don't impose those on anybody else. I've been in countries where the majority of the people in the country don't believe in a deity or they may be atheist. Or the majority of the country is Muslim. Or it may be the majority is much younger skewed. So when you look at all these differences, it's not that I'm to be the judge or the jury relative to right or wrong. Having said that, at McDonald's, there are core values we stand for and the world is getting much closer. So we have a lot of conversations. We're going to make some mistakes at times. [We talk] about things that may have an implication in one part of the world and may be the cultural norm in another part of the world. And those are things that, yes, we're going to learn from. But, you're right, that commercial won't show in the United States. Read the complete interview here.