Two black executives at McDonald's are suing the company they say has "declared war against the African American community." Vicki Guster-Hines and Domineca Neal claim discrimination in their demotions from vice president to senior director positions in Dallas in 2018, per the Guardian. But they also say that's just the tip of the fountain drink ice cube, claiming that racial discrimination was "systematic but covert" for years before Steve Easterbrook became chief executive in 2015. That's when it apparently became "overt, unmistakable ... and highly damaging," the suit notes, per the BBC. McDonald's "conducted a ruthless purge" of high-ranking African Americans, whose ranks fell from 42 in 2014 to seven in 2019, according to the complaint, which suggests problems persist under current CEO Chris Kempczinski, who took over for Easterbrook in the fall.
"In shocking ways difficult to overstate, McDonald's under Easterbrook and Kempczinski declared war against the African American community," reads the lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Illinois. Guster-Hines and Neal say McDonald's not only created a "hostile and abusive work environment" for black executives but also franchisees—a claim Business Insider says mirrors its own reporting. They also say McDonald's geared advertising away from black customers, which McDonald's disputes. The company also says 45% of corporate officers and all 10 of its field vice presidents in the US are people of color. A federal civil-rights suit filed in 2015 claimed McDonald's workers were fired after supervisors said they needed to get rid of people of color, per the Guardian, which adds authorities began investigating racism at McDonald's Brazil operations last year. (Read more McDonald's stories.)