The McDonald’s boss apologizes after the uproar over texts about the death of a child

McDonald’s boss Chris Kempczinski apologized last Friday after a text exchange he had with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot about two children killed in shootings appeared as someone criticized as racist.

“The parents failed the kids that I know are something you can not say. Even harder to fix,” Kempczinski said in the text message, according to WBEZ-TV in Chicago.

Jaslyn Adams, 7, was fatally shot on April 18 while sitting in a car with her father on a McDonald̵[ads1]7;s drive-thru in the city in April last year. Adam Toledo, 13, was killed by a Chicago police officer on March 29. He called the deaths “tragic”.

Lightfoot did not address the comment at the time.

Kempczinski has faced a setback, including accusations of racism. Adams was black and Toledo was Latino.

“I have not walked in the shoes of Adam’s or Jaslyn’s family and so many others who are facing a completely different reality,” he said in a written apology to employees. “Not taking the time to think about this from their point of view was wrong.”

The McDonald’s boss apologizes after the uproar over texts about the death of a child

Chris Kempczinski, President of McDonald’s USA, speaks at the unveiling of McDonald’s new headquarters during a grand opening ceremony on June 4, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images) (Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images / Getty Images)

“I learn from this. I think it starts with more listening and learning from more people whose life experiences are different from my own,” he added.


Kempczinski’s text was revealed following a request for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

“He does not know the circumstances of these parents. A large number of them are single mothers who only do their best and sacrifice themselves,” McDonalds employee Adriana Sanchez told WBEZ. She said he unfairly “blames his parents for the violence in the streets. He can not relate because he is rich, and we are not, and he does not understand our struggle.”

Employees and activists staged protests outside McDonald’s headquarters last week.

Dressed as Ronald McDonald, Kristian Armendariz kicks empty lunch boxes resembling McDonald’s Happy Meals during a protest outside the company’s office on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 in Chicago. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / Tribune News Serv (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / Tribune News Service via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Lanesha Walker, Adam’s mother, broke the silence last week.

“I’m a grieving parent … and from your place of power you are insulting me,” she told the Chicago Sun-Times. “How dare you judge me! How dare you say I failed my child! I was not there when my child was killed. I did not know she was at. your McDonald’s with his father at the time. You owe me an apology. ”

She added: “I have not really spoken, because this is not just another child killed in Chicago. This is my children, my daughter who lived with me 24/7. Mr CEO, you have no idea what it’s like to live on the south and west sides, in the trenches, where it’s really treacherous, just to survive, just to protect your children. You come from privileges. You can not talk about me. “

Lightfoot’s office said last week: “Shaming victims has no place in this conversation.”


“As the mayor has said before, families are doing everything they can – mothers, fathers, grandparents – to love and support their children, and tragedies can still happen,” her office said.

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