Quirky actor James Franco was apparently lovin’ it when he worked at McDonald’s for minimum wage before his entertainment career took off. He also admits that he still likes the food.
“Because I was following my acting dream despite all the pressure not to, I was definitely not too good to work at McDonald’s… All I know is that when I needed McDonald’s, McDonald’s was there for me. When no one else was,” Franco, 37, summarized in the essay.
Mcdonald’s has been taking a lot of heat from critics who feel the company is taking advantage of low-income workers.
“Franco’s op-ed is published at a time when the iconic chain faces declining profits and nationwide protests over low wages. The chain has announced plans to raise wages to $9.90—by over a dollar—though workers say it’s too little, too late,” Time explained.
As a young, unemployed acting student with minimal work experience, Franco got hired at a nearby McDonald’s (he didn’t own a car) on the same day he applied. The Interview star worked the third-shift drive thru, where he would practice fake accents (homework for acting class) on customers. A month later, he got promoted to the day shift at the front counter.
Franco’s burger-slinging career ended after three months when he nailed his first TV commercial which happened ironically to be for a McDonald’s fast-food competitor: a Pizza Hut Super Bowl ad. The rest is acting history.
Although a vegetarian going into the job, he began eating the cheeseburgers that were sitting too long under heat lamps that otherwise would have been tossed. He also admitted to eating non-hygenically grabbing and eating fries straight from the fry hopper as he walked by.
In his essay, Franco offers the True Story, as it were, about his McDonald’s job.
“I was treated fairly well at McDonald’s. If anything, they cut me slack. And, just like their food, the job was more available there than anywhere else. When I was hungry for work, they fed the need. I still love the simplicity of the McDonald’s hamburger and its salty fries. After reading ‘Fast Food Nation,’ it’s hard for me to trust the grade of the meat. But maybe once a year, while on a road trip or out in the middle of nowhere for a movie, I’ll stop by a McDonald’s and get a simple cheeseburger: light, and airy, and satisfying.”
Some precincts of the Twittersphere, $15 minimum wage advocates included, have a beef with Franco for praising McDonald’s, while free-market proponents had the opposite reaction.
Leaving aside for the moment whether McDonald’s treats its employees fairly, the minimum wage was originally designed for entry level persons and newcomers to get experience and training to enable to enable them to move up in the workforce.
Things have changed, according to one expert quoted by CNN, however.
“If [Franco] thinks McDonald’s provides opportunities for people who need to find a job quickly, I can’t argue with that. But you have a lot more people taking jobs at McDonald’s who aren’t struggling actors or students. It’s people trying to support a family,” insisted David Cooper of the Economic Policy Institute.
Added the Guardian, “Franco’s experience as an 18-year-old aspiring actor trying to survive on McDonald’s pay is not the norm.”
In a previus article about Seattle restaurants struggling to comply with a $15 minimum wage, The Inquisitr suggested that virtually everybody has endured a bad boss — or more than one — in their career. Indeed, while some unethical or greedy businesses clearly exploit their hard-working labor force with artificially low pay, a one-size-fits-all minimum wage imposed by government is unable to distinguish between employers that operate in good faith, and who may be struggling to keep the doors open, and those that do not.
Do you think that James Franco’s appreciation for McDonald’s hiring him before he got his first acting break is justified?
[image via Twitter]