Middle East boycotts are significantly impacting American brands and stores in the region. McDonald’s and Starbucks in countries such as Egypt are reporting empty outlets as campaigns against companies seen to be taking sides in the conflict spread.
McDonald’s came under fire after promising to donate free meals to Israeli Defense Force (IDF) troops, while customers began boycotting Starbucks when it posted pro-Palestinian social media messages. Starbucks Workers United reportedly tweeted “Solidarity with Palestine” and referred to “Gaza resistance” and “Israeli occupation” in a now-deleted post. Starbucks said the organization is not formally affiliated with the coffee giant.
Floridian Senator Rick Scott sensationally backed the Starbucks boycott and urged Americans to avoid the company until it denounced Hamas terrorism. “This is disgusting. Every American should condemn the atrocities that Iran-backed Hamas terrorists committed in Israel,” Scott tweeted.
McDonald’s, a frequent target of left-leaning boycotts due to its image as a symbol of corporate America, has suffered an uptick in vandalism in the Middle East since the start of the war. When Alonyal Limited, Isreal’s McDonald’s operator, announced the donation to IDF soldiers, several franchise owners quickly distanced themselves from the sentiment, and some donated to pro-Palestinian groups and causes.
Company boycotts are an increasingly common form of political activism and, in some instances, have had a profound and altering effect. One of the most successful boycotts in recent years involved American beer giant Bud Light, whose profits were hit after hiring transgender influencer Dylan Mulvany for an ad campaign.
In May, Bud Light had lost almost 25% of its revenue, and by October, sales were down by 30%. The company responded with new ads depicting NFL stars Peyton Manning and Emmitt Smith enjoying a summer beer. Parent company Anheuser-Busch later distanced itself from Mulvaney and announced it would donate a portion of all beer sales to Folds of Honor – an organization that provides for the families of fallen and disabled military veterans.