A photo widely shared on social media allegedly shows a McDonald’s notice announcing a surcharge of $1.50 per transaction for African-American customers after “a recent string of robberies”. Recent posts with this image have over 12,000 shares as of April 23, 2020 ( archive.vn/NtHpw , here ).
The notice reads: “PLEASE NOTE: As an insurance measure due in part to a recent string of robberies, African-American customers are now required to pay an additional fee of $1.50 per transaction. Thank you for your cooperation, McDonald’s Corporation (800) 225-5532”
The image is false and has been circulating online since at least 2011. McDonald’s has publicly described this claim as a “senseless and ignorant hoax”, both on Twitter ( here , here , here ) and on its website ( here ).
According to past media reports, the image initially went viral on Twitter in June 2011 and became trending a topic with the hashtag #SeriouslyMcdonalds ( here , here , here ). Since then, the incident has been used as an example of crisis communication for brands on social media ( here , bit.ly/3cEjTqb ).
The resurgence of this claim comes after incidents of racism towards Africans in southern China, including one at a McDonald´s restaurant, amidst the coronavirus outbreak ( here ). A video, recorded in the province of Guangzhou, showed a McDonald´s employee holding a notice saying “from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant” ( here ). The company publicly condemned the act on Twitter and announced the temporary closure of the restaurant “to allow us to retrain the team in question on our values as a company”. ( here )
False: McDonald’s has not imposed a surcharge on African-American customers; this hoax has been circulating online since at least 2011
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .