The Vatican McDonald’s Is Being Accused Of Exploiting The Homeless For Publicity

Getty Image / Franco Origlia

The hits just keep coming for the Vatican-adjacent McDonald’s. As we previously covered, a lot of people were against the Rome restaurant. Cardinals and other religious leaders didn’t really understand why a chain fast food restaurant needed to be located in the shadow of the center of the Roman Catholic Church. After all, one is an unholy monument to excess and indulgence without guilt and the other is a burger joint.

Some of that anger dissipated when it was announced the company had decided to help the area homeless by donating bottles of water, burgers, and other menu items in conjunction with a local charity Now, we’re discovering that it might have all been hype.

Lying in the Vatican? Get your popcorn ready, this is going to be good.

Apparently, McDonald’s made a decision to feed the homeless as a public relations stunt so that people wouldn’t be as miffed that the restaurant was being built near such a holy place. The idea was that the company would donate 1,000 lunches in the next six months. That’s a lot of Big Macs and McGriddles for the needy. But, the decisions to be charitable wasn’t based on the best intentions. It was just a ploy to make the fast-food giant look like a good guy.

The whole thing appears to be an elaborate scheme by McDonald’s as a “commercial transaction which cynically uses the homeless and offends many years and daily work [done by others] to help alleviate extreme poverty,” community group Safeguard the Borgo told The Guardian. So, basically, McDonald’s figured that throwing a few free hash browns and sausage biscuits at the less fortunate would make their problems go away. You don’t say?

When the restaurant opened on December 30th, meals were donated to local charities and all signs pointed to McDonald’s doing the right thing. But, according to Reuters, the whole idea was designed to draw attention away from the criticism surrounding the opening of the store instead of actually helping out the homeless. Now that the company has been outed for its shenanigans, it’s going to take a lot more than a few burgers and fries to make this PR nightmare disappear.