James Franco Hopes To Save McDonald’s, Even If It Means Workers Get Paid Less

Robyn Pennacchia | May 7, 2015 - 1:00 pm

James Franco wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post today. With all the things going on the world right now, the manic pixie dream bro chose to focus on the topic of McDonald’s not doing so well these days.

The op-ed was titled “McDonald’s was there for me when no one else was.” The thesis, oddly, is that James Franco hopes that the fast-food chain turns it around. That, although switching many stores over to franchises rather than corporate-owned stores would mean that many employees would lose that sweet 70 cent raise they just got, he hopes that strategy works.

Why? Because he, James Franco, worked at a McDonald’s once for three months before he was able to pay his bills with acting jobs alone.

You know what, James Franco? It’s cool that you worked at McDonald’s that one time, for three months. I’m glad that you had a super whimsical time there, doing accents at the drive-thru and stealing old burgers. I’m sure it made you feel like you were really down with the people, after you quit UCLA to focus on your acting career!

I’m glad your parents went to Stanford and that, according to Wikipedia, your dad had his own business in Silicon Valley. I’m glad that you were a relatively educated, attractive white man. Who probably had health insurance.

Which is why I am skeptical when you say that “McDonald’s was there for you when no one else was.”

I imagine it’s a lot easier to have free-wheelin’ fun at a minimum wage job when you do, in fact, have options. When you have parents who are willing and able to pay for your college and support you while you go. Though it wasn’t the option you chose, it was still there. When you know — even if they were not supporting you while you went off to live your dream — that if you had a serious medical emergency that you would have been able to go to a doctor or a hospital. I imagine it’s easier when you are 100 percent sure that it is temporary.

That is not a reality for many, if not most non-teenage minimum wage workers.

And that is why I do not give a flying fuck if McDonald’s goes under. In fact, I think it will be karma. McDonald’s will have my sympathy for their “struggle” as soon as they have some sympathy for their employees’ struggle. Which, clearly, they do not. In fact, just recently, franchise owners were whining, out loud about how it was so unfair of the larger company to give workers at corporate-owned stores that 70 cent raise.

I don’t care about what improvements they are making to their menu, or whether or not the new Hamburglar is hot. I don’t care that it’s “hard” for them to compete with Chipotle’s healthier menu. I literally care about nothing they do until they pay their goddamned employees a fair wage.

Corporations and business owners will never have even one ounce of my sympathy when they do not pay their workers a fair, living wage. Certainly not when they are actively engaging in wage theft, which is a huge problem for workers at McDonald’s and other fast food joints. Quite frankly, I’m not entirely sure I’d throw water on them if they were on fire.

Providing jobs is not enough. We need jobs people are able to live off of. We especially need jobs for people who did not have the opportunities James Franco had. We let a lot of companies take their jobs overseas rather than paying American workers a fair wage here at home, and it has fucked out economy. Even if you have zero empathy for people who are struggling to get by on minimum wage jobs, you have to at least understand that. We need people to be able to buy things in order for our economy to survive.

It’s cool that James Franco had a whimsical time working at McDonald’s. It’s cool that he was able to work their for three months and then earn a living as a Hollywood actor. That is not most people who are working at McDonald’s right now. It would be a lot cooler if James Franco could use his star power to stump for them rather than the corporation that is fucking them.

[Washington Post]