Fact check: Neither McDonald’s nor Coca-Cola announced they would no longer hire white executives
The claim: McDonald’s and Coca-Cola announced they will no longer hire white people to leadership positions
As America continues to address issues of racial injustice and inequity, many corporations have announced efforts to increase representation within their ranks. Among them are McDonald’s and the Coca-Cola Co.
In response to those announcements, an image on social media falsely claims that these brands will implement hiring practices that are prejudicial toward white people.
“McDonalds and Coke have both announced no whites will be hired in top positions,” reads the image, shared April 12 on Facebook. The post has been shared more than 500 times.
Despite fact-checkers’ efforts to debunk this claim in March, it has continued to spread.
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USA TODAY reached out to several accounts that shared the claim for comment. None responded.
McDonald’s employee diversity initiative
In February, McDonald’s announced plans to diversify its leadership. The program, called “Allyship through Accountability,” seeks to “improve representation within leadership roles for both women and historically underrepresented groups.”
The program sets goals to increase representation of racial and ethnic minority groups in the company’s senior director and higher-level positions in the U.S. to 35% by the end of 2025. According to the announcement, underrepresented groups made up 29% of McDonald’s U.S. leadership roles in 2020.
Additionally, the program aims to increase representation of women in global leadership positions to 45%. As of 2020, women made up 37% of those roles.
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There is no announcement stating the company would halt hiring white people on McDonald’s website, Twitter profile, Instagram profile, LinkedIn or Facebook page.
McDonald’s declined USA TODAY’s request for comment.
Coca-Cola says the claim is false
Coca-Cola spokesperson Ann Moore told USA TODAY the “claim is absolutely false.”
Coca-Cola has been under fire for alleged anti-white bias since Newsweek reported it trained employees to “try to be less white” in February. CEO James Quincey’s April 1 condemnation of Georgia’s new voting law has fueled more false claims about the company.
Coca-Cola recently announced its own plans to diversify its workforce, pledging to build an employee population that aligned with U.S. Census Bureau demographics on race and ethnicity by 2030. The company vowed to report ongoing progress, focus recruitment efforts at historically Black institutions and conduct a third-party pay equity audit for employees.
The announcement did not mention a decision to stop hiring white people.
USA TODAY could not find any record of the claimed announcement on Coca-Cola’s website, Twitter profile, Instagram profile, LinkedIn or Facebook page.
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Our rating: False
We rate the claim that McDonald’s and Coca-Cola announced they would no longer hire white people for top positions FALSE because it is not supported by our research. Both companies have announced efforts to increase the representation of historically underrepresented groups in their workforce, however, these efforts do not include stopping hiring white people.
Our fact-check sources:
- Check Your Fact, March 12, “FACT CHECK: DID MCDONALD’S AND COCA-COLA ANNOUNCE THEY WILL NO LONGER HIRE WHITE PEOPLE FOR EXECUTIVE POSITIONS?”
- McDonald’s, Feb. 18, “Allyship through Accountability”
- McDonald’s, accessed April 15, “Press Releases”
- McDonald’s, accessed April 15, Twitter profile
- McDonald’s, accessed April 15, Instagram Profile
- McDonald’s, accessed April 15, LinkedIn profile
- McDonald’s, accessed April 15, Facebook page
- USA TODAY, email with Ann Moore, Communications Director, The Coca-Cola Company
- USA TODAY, March 2, “Fact check: Coca-Cola CEO did not insult customers who were launching boycott”
- Snopes, Feb. 22, “Did Coca-Cola’s Diversity Training Tell Workers ‘Try To Be Less White’?”
- USA TODAY, April 5, “Georgia Republicans go after Coca-Cola, Delta for opposing Georgia voting law”
- USA TODAY, April 9, “Fact check: Georgia is not removing Coca-Cola products from state-owned buildings”
- The Coca-Cola Company, accessed April 15, “Black Employee Representation Goals: Mirroring the Markets We Serve”
- The Coca-Cola Company, accessed April 15, “Media Center”
- The Coca-Cola Company, accessed April 15, Twitter profile
- The Coca-Cola Company, accessed April 15, Instagram profile
- The Coca-Cola Company, accessed April 15, LinkedIn profile
- The Coca-Cola Company, accessed April 15, Facebook page
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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
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