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McDonald's criticized for treatment of Down syndrome patron

TAIPEI -- More than 100 protesters rallied outside McDonald's headquarters in Taipei Tuesday, demanding that the fast-food chain's CEO formally apologize to a patron with Down syndrome who was asked to leave one of its restaurants in Kaohsiung.

The protesters, mostly supporters of disability rights, chanted, “Oust McDonald's from Taiwan. CEO come forward and apologize.”

They also demanded that the restaurant release surveillance video of what actually happened at the Kaohsiung branch on June 21 when the patron, surnamed Wang, was kicked out of the restaurant.

The branch's manager claimed that Wang was a homeless person who was disturbing other guests and needed to be asked to leave, but police called to the scene by the manager were told that Wang had not bothered anyone.

The incident has led to widespread condemnation, especially in online communities, with many netizens on Facebook calling for a boycott of McDonald's.

In response to the outrage, McDonald's director of communications Clare Chou extended a formal apology on Monday to Wang, her family and the public and said the company was taking the incident very seriously and carrying out a thorough investigation.

That did not satisfy the protesters, however, who demanded a more sincere apology from a higher-ranking McDonald's executive, namely the CEO.

Meanwhile, several children with Down syndrome at the protest spoke about the prejudicial treatment they had previously received at the fast food chain.

1 Comment
July 10, 2013    free.barrier@

I have a few thoughts about the situation but do not know if they are appropriate for you. First of all, I would want to support the woman with down syndrome and make sure she and her family know what their rights are and what resources are available. If there is a law against that kind of discrimination, then it should be determined if there are legal actions that can be taken and who can help her.



If there is not a law about such discrimination, this is a perfect opportunity to bring the situation to the attention of lawmakers, to show them that public opinion supports your cause, and also to educate the public. Change is slow sometimes, but it sounds like there is public support for the rights of people with disabilities. If there is not a process to enact laws or policies that will help, then using the situation to educate the public might be a good option. Keeping it alive by following how McDonalds responds and just keeping it in the public eye is good. It might also help to focus on the strengths and abilities that people with disabilities bring to the community and to improve public awareness.

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A disability advocacy group protests outside the Taipei headquarters of fast food giant McDonald's, yesterday, demanding an official apology from management. The protest follows an incident at a McDonald's restaurant in Kaohsiung where a store manager called the police to remove from its premises a person the manager claimed was disorderly. (CNA)

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