The CEO of McDonald’s is to meet with the families of two children who were shot and killed in the city of Chicago over the past year, one of them by the police department.
The meeting between Chris Kempczinski and the family of Adam Toledo is still to be arranged but both have come as result of text messages he sent to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, where Kempczinski seemed to blame the deaths of the black and Latino children killed in gun violence on their parents.
Kempczinski has been facing calls to resign after text messages, which were sent in April to Lightfoot, were made public.
Lanesha Walker (left), the mom of Jaslyn Adams, 7, who was shot and killed in Chicago in April, slammed McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski (right) over his recently revealed comments about the killings
Jaslyn Adams, 7, pictured, was in her dad’s car when she was shot dead at a McDonald’s drive-thru
Kempczinski sent the texts after meeting with her and referred to shootings that took the children’s lives. Seven-year-old Jaslyn Adams, a black girl who was shot in a McDonald’s drive-through lane in April, and 13-year-old Adam Toledo, a Latino boy who was shot by Chicago police in March.
Kempczinski wrote: ‘With both, the parents failed those kids which I know is something you can’t say. Even harder to fix.’
The mayor sidestepped the CEO’s remark concerning the shootings in her reply, writing back to him: ‘Thanks, Chris. Great to see you in person. Such a great work space, and your folks were terrific. I said to Joe I would be happy to reach out to the operator to offer support. He and his team members have got to be traumatized. Terrible tragedy. Thanks again, Chris.’
The exchange was made public on social media late last month following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Michael Kessler, an American activist living in Canada, who said he was looking into an Oregon police matter and working with Chicago-based transparency group Lucy Parsons Lab.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, pictured, privately thanked Kempczinski in response to his text message, but publicly she disavowed his remarks
Chicago organizations have been protesting for days, saying the messages were racist, ignorant and out-of-touch.
Jaslyn Adams’ mother has demanded an apology from the CEO, who is white.
‘This is my child, my daughter who lived with me 24/7. Mr. CEO, you have no clue what it’s like to live on the South Side and West Side, in the trenches, where it gets real treacherous, just to survive, just to protect your children. You come from privilege. You can’t speak about me,’ Lanesha Walker said.
Kempczinski has requested to meet with the family of Adam Toledo.
‘We have been told by our lawyers, Adeena Weiss Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn, that McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski would like to meet with us,’ the statement said. ‘We appreciate the offer and humbly accept it. We all need to put this matter to rest as quickly as possible.
The CEO of McDonald’s Chris Kempczinski appeared to blame the parents of two children who were shot and killed in the city, which is experiencing a dramatic spike in violent crime
Dressed as Ronald McDonald, Kristian Armendariz waves to cameras as Graciela Garcia speaks during a protest outside the McDonald’s corporate office in Chicago’s West Loop last week
A group of parents and children held a protest to criticize McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski’s text message to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, which referenced the fatal shootings of 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams and 13-year-old Adam Toledo earlier in 2021
‘Despite the unbearable pain of the loss of our precious 13-year-old Adam, we have done everything possible to take a peaceful, loving approach to working through this tragedy. We have been advised by our lawyers that this is a time for peace and love, not community unrest. Working together, we hope to help avoid another such tragedy in the future.
US representative Bobby Rush of Illinois called this week for Kempczinski to be removed.
The Chicago Democrat said: ‘This is a deplorable message, and one that is completely unacceptable for the CEO of a powerful multinational corporation – let alone a corporation that markets aggressively to communities of color and publicly proclaims that ‘black lives matter’ – to espouse.’
A coalition of community groups amplified their demand for Kempczinski to resign by protesting outside the McDonald’s where Jaslyn Adams was killed.
Jaslyn Adams, left, was shot April 18 while sitting in her father’s car at a McDonald’s drive-thru on the city’s West Side, Brown said. Her father, Jontae Adams, right, was seriously wounded in the attack
Police investigate a crime scene where Jontae Adams, 28, and his daughter Jaslyn, 7, were shot
The coalition, which called attention to other racial discrimination complaints the company has faced, called on the fast-food giant to create a $200 million dollar fund over four years to improve life in Chicago, among other things. The group includes immigrant rights activists, labour groups and churches.
Earlier this month, Kempczinski sent a note to McDonald’s corporate employees in the US, saying he was thinking through his ‘lens as a parent and reacted viscerally’, according to The Chicago Tribune.
‘I have not walked in the shoes of Adam’s or Jaslyn’s family and so many others who are facing a very different reality,’ he said in a written apology to employees.
‘Not taking the time to think about this from their viewpoint was wrong, and lacked the empathy and compassion I feel for these families. I am learning from this. I believe that starts with more listening and learning from more people whose life experiences are different from my own. This is a lesson that I will carry with me.’
McDonald’s has declined to comment.
Jaslyn was in her father’s car at a McDonald’s drive-thru on April 18 when she was riddled with bullets and killed as part of a suspected ambush targeting her dad, who was said to be in a gang.
Adam Toledo, 13, was killed by a police officer during a foot chase in March
Three weeks prior, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was running away from the police with a gun in his hand when he was shot dead by an officer less than a second after the teen dropped or tossed the weapon aside. The CEO was also referring to that killing in his text.
Jaslyn’s father Jontae Adams, 29, has admitted knowing that he was a potential target for gang retaliation, but didn’t think anything would occur on the day he took her to get McDonald’s.
Prosecutors say that Jaslyn and her father were in a McDonald’s drive-thru in Homan Square on April 18 when three men pulled up in a silver Audi and riddled their vehicle with at least 28 bullets. Jontae Adams was shot once and injured, Jaslyn was hit multiple times and killed.
‘My daughter wanted McDonald’s. I tried to Uber McDonald’s,’ Jontae Adams said in an interview with WCGI-FM, referring to the food delivery service. ‘But my baby wanted to see me.’
‘As far as my actions or my past, maybe it had something to do with it. But I was a father the day my daughter died. That’s all I remember being. I don’t remember gang-banging. I don’t remember what led to it,’ he continued.
‘I’d do it again. My baby wanted McDonald’s, and I would take her to McDonald’s again. Nothing is going to stop me from being a father and putting a smile on my baby’s face.
This video police body cam image released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) on April 15, 2021, shows a frame grab of 13 year-old Adam Toledo on the ground after he was shot by police in Chicago, Illinois on March 29, 2021
Officer Eric Stillman was pursuing Adam on foot in Little Village when he fired the fatal shot. COPA cleared Stillman of wrongdoing
Arrested in Jaslyn’s slaying were Devontay Anderson, 22, Demond Goudy, 21, and Marion Lewis, 18, who was shot and injured by police and taken into custody after he crashed his vehicle trying to elude officers, and then tried to steal a family’s car on the Eisenhower Expressway.
All three are being held without bond in the Cook County Jail.
The officer who shot and killed Adam Toledo during a foot chase on March 29 has not been relieved of his police powers following a review by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
Toledo’s family, which previously faced questioned about his upbringing and his suspected involving with gangs, has not publicly commented on the McDonald’s CEO’s words of criticism.
Full text of McDonald’s CEO memo to corporate employees
DailyMail.com obtained the following memo, sent by McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski to US corporate employees:
I recently learned that a text message exchange between me and the Mayor of Chicago was made public. The text exchange took place after I had welcomed Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to MHQ in April. The preceding day, a shooting at a McDonald’s Drive Thru in Homan Square took the life of 7-year old Jaslyn Adams. This tragedy came soon after 13-year-old Adam Toledo was fatally shot by a police officer in Little Village. These horrible deaths were painful for Chicago and our McFamily, made more so by the fact that they were both just kids.
In the text exchange, I thanked Mayor Lightfoot for the visit and reflected on our conversation about the recent tragedies, commenting that ‘the parents failed those kids.’ When I wrote this, I was thinking through my lens as a parent and reacted viscerally. But I have not walked in the shoes of Adam’s or Jaslyn’s family and so many others who are facing a very different reality.
Not taking the time to think about this from their viewpoint was wrong, and lacked the empathy and compassion I feel for these families. This is a lesson that I will carry with me.
As we think about the challenges facing our communities, and the senseless surge in gun violence that is affecting so many children, it is also clear to me that everyone has a role to play.
We’re a Chicago company, born and raised. There is so much about our city to make us proud. That doesn’t negate that there is also much that needs to be addressed to ensure our best days are ahead of us. And I can’t think of a more urgent priority than ensuring these tragedies come to an end. Quite simply, it is on all of us to do better for the children of our communities. I am committed to working with civic leaders and elected officials to understand what that means for McDonald’s, and I will be asking all of you to join me in this pursuit.