McDonald’s, Burger King, and Domino’s just pledged allegiance to Mohammed bin Salman, the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia, in a semi-religious show of support.
McDonald’s, which has been operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 1993, started the confusing trend with a full-page advertisement in a Saudi newspaper. It said:
We renew our allegiance and obedience for his royal highness, the servant of the two holy mosques, King Salman the son of Abdul Aziz Al Saud. And we support Amir Mohammed bin Salman, his son, to become Minister of Defence and Prime Minister and to be nominated as successor. God give him wisdom and equip him to rule his kingdom. With peace and prosperity, McDonald’s.
Say that with me again: “With peace and prosperity, McDonald’s.” Rather than sticking to clowns and charities, McDonald’s is tacitly embracing an anti-woman, anti-LGBT theocracy.
— Al Maghnieh (@AlMaghnieh) June 22, 2017
Burger King followed up with its own message of support for Salman. The monarchies clearly didn’t clash as Burger King wrote, “We ask Allah to reconcile and repay, and to keep the rulers of our affairs for all that is good.”
— برجر كنج® السعودية (@BURGERKINGKSA) June 22, 2017
Not to be outdone, Domino’s chimed in. According to a Google translation, the Twitter post says, “We renew the promise of loyalty… on the occasion of his appointment as Crown Prince.”
— دومينوز السعودية (@DominosKSA) June 21, 2017
Why would fast food giants honor not only a new crown prince as well as Allah? Well, the ad by McDonald’s KSA isn’t all that surprising. As Vox and Newsweek pointed out, the Saudi Arabian franchise is owned by Mishaal Bin Khalid al Saud, a close relative to Salman, which could explain the awkward ad. It wouldn’t be all that unusual considering how that government has operated in the past.
We can only guess why other fast food chains have been so eager to jump in, but it may have something to do with the fact that dissent from the Saudi regime is often met with capital punishment. (Selling pizza and fries? Probably a secondary consideration.)
I suppose when your government is founded on religion, demands of loyalty are on the first page of every corporate playbook. Blind admiration and respect are pretty much par for the course. I guess we’ll wait to see what KFC, Subway, and all the other chains do.
(Image via Shutterstock)