James Franco: 'McDonald’s Was There for Me. When No One Else Was.'


The Washington Post published a bizarre op-ed from writer/director/actor/natural brunette James Franco today. It’s about McDonald’s. Franco is saddened by restaurant’s current slump and wanted let everyone know that he hopes the golden arches can successfully rejuvenate sales. Why? Because he worked there for three months and it had a profound impact on him.

He writes, “McDonald’s was there for me. When no one else was.” I think that’s a melodramatic reference to his parents choosing not to support him financially once he dropped out of college and enrolled in a “hole-in-the-wall acting school in the Valley,” but maybe I’m wrong.

Franco says his late-night job at McDonald’s was the first job he’d ever had where he didn’t read at work, but that he found other ways to fulfill himself.

In high school, I was fired from a coffee shop for reading behind the counter and from a golf course for reading while driving the cart on the driving range…I refrained from reading on the job, but soon started putting on fake accents with the customers to practice for my scenes in acting class.

The hamburger cooker even wanted to hook up with him in the bathroom, “but he didn’t speak English, so he had someone translate for him.” After that detail, he goes on to discuss what it was like to work at the counter.

After a month, they allowed me to work the front counter during the day. Parents ordering for their children are the worst, and parents ordering for a group of children, like a sports team, are the devil incarnate. Some customers seem to think that paying for food entitles them to boss the service workers around, but if you’re buying fast food, how much entitlement does that buy you? When you’re paying a dollar for a burger, is it the end of the world if I accidentally forgot to take the mustard off the order?

This was particularly interesting to me, because Franco said in a 2013 interview with Howard Stern that the restaurant “didn’t want [him] at the front counter.” Hmmm. He also told Stern that he worked there for “two to three” months, as opposed to a full three. This, admittedly, isn’t a huge discrepancy, but notable in that it potentially shrinks his tenure there by a third.

Anyway. Before you can say, “Wanna hook up in the bathroom?” Franco booked a Super Bowl commercial for Pizza Hut and quit his job at McDonald’s, never to work at a fast food restaurant again.

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.

OK. So he worked there for [two to] three months, was treated “fairly well,” may or may not have worked the counter, got orders wrong, was asked by a hamburger cooker to hook up in the bathroom, may or may not have hooked up with a hamburger cooker in the bathroom, and then quit? This is why he wants McDonald’s—the “cynical” chain of unhealthy restaurants who sued Seattle to prevent a minimum wage increase and pays workers less so that franchisees earn more—to succeed?

OK, James.

Image via Getty.

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