A Massachusetts McDonald’s is apologizing for any "unintended offense" they may have caused after receiving backlash for their insensitive Halloween decorations. The decorations, noticed at the North Andover location by college student Erik Pocock, depicted a person hanging from a noose in a tree. You can see images of the controversial decorations by clicking here.
“It looked like a typical Halloween decoration,” Pocock told local news outlet WCVB. “It said ‘Happy Halloween.’ It had some spiderwebs and some spiders and, like, a haunted tree and I was like: ‘Oh, that’s cute.’ Then, you look closer and that’s not cute. That’s not right.”
“More like a lynching, but you could have taken it either way,” he said.
Those on social media seemed to agree. After Pococl shared a video of the decorations to his now private Twitter account, McDonald’s was hounded with backlash, many calling out the chain for the offensive image.
“Definitely not appropriate. Why are we associating Halloween with lynching which obviously this is undoubtedly a display of such an act,” one person wrote.
“We lack knowledge of our history, how things happened and why? We don't care to understand and the mistakes will repeat themselves, as it happens in this decorations. Not understanding or not wanting to undertand both lead us to disaster,” another commented.
“This is definitely absolutely offensive!” wrote a third. “What is wrong with people!”
“In an era of so many young people choosing suicide as a way out of their situations this can cause a lot of damage,” another responded to the imagery. “More so because it is an establishment that is more times than not frequented by children of all ages.”
Speaking to Today on Monday, Pocock explained that he and his friends were “completely shocked” when they approached the cash register and saw the decorations.
“My friends and I were completely shocked that a large establishment like McDonald's would put decorations like these up for all to see,” he said. “It’s disgusting, insensitive and I can’t believe someone thought this was a good idea.”
Chuck Lietz, owner and operator of the McDonald’s restaurant in North Andover, has since issued an apology, stating that the offensive decoration has since been removed.
“We deeply regret that these decorations were on display, and as soon as we identified the inappropriate content, we immediately removed the decorations display,” Lietz said in the statement. “Creating an environment that is welcoming and inclusive to all our guests and employees is critically important to us, and we apologize for any unintended offense they may have had on our community.”