The Korean community in New York announced Friday a boycott of McDonald’s for the month of February in protest of what they call mistreatment of the community’s elderly citizens.
“The recent action of the McDonald’s chain in Flushing, New York, that drove away Korean elderly customers who stayed long hours is a clear sign of racial and age discrimination,” the Korean American Parents Association of Greater New York said in a statement.
The move came after a report in The New York Times detailed the conflict between the Flushing McDonald’s and a group of elderly Koreans.
Earlier on Thursday, the newspaper published an article on the growing frustration of the branch’s management over the Korean seniors who take up all the store’s tables for hours, buying only a small order of fries and obstructing other business.
According to the report, the burger chain, located on the corner of Parsons and Northern Boulevards, has called the police four times since November last year to clear out the group.
“Everywhere you go in the U.S., senior citizens pass hours and chat over a cup of coffee and that is big part of American culture and ordinary life,” the organization said, lashing out at the McDonald’s chain.
The group said it wanted to send a warning to “arrogant McDonald’s” by boycotting the fast food joint. The main customers of the disputed store are known to be Koreans.
“Treating our senior citizens, or our parents’ generation, as criminals is an insult to Koreans as a whole. Our elderly citizens are the ones who have overcome the aftermath of the war and drove our nation to become one of the top ten economies in the world. They deserve respect,” the statement read.
Korean netizens here showed mixed reactions at the news. Some expressed their disappointment in the elderly who might discolor the image of Koreans, while others berated McDonald’s for instituting a 20-minutes limit to sit and eat, a rule put in place because of the seniors’ loitering.
By Ock Hyun-ju, Intern reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)