This transgender teen was allegedly fired from McDonald's after getting media attention
This injustice is super-sized.
Only about two weeks ago, Kenny Cooley, a transgender teen and high school football player in Halifax, Canada, received international media attention for being an out transgender football player on the Halifax West High School football team. Now, Metro reports, he says he has encountered backlash after his moment in the spotlight: He's been fired from his job at McDonald's.
Cooley, who was profiled by ABC News, told Metro that only two days after his story appeared in the Canadian newspaper, management at his McDonald's called him in and said he was being terminated, "one because of the media, and two because we had some schedule mishaps," Cooley told the paper.
Bob Smith, owner operator of the McDonald's where Cooley works, told Mic in a statement that he was "shocked by these allegations as they are simply not true."
"I have been a local business owner for more than 25 years and I pride myself on operating an open and diverse workplace," Smith said in his statement. "At my restaurants, inclusion has always been an important part of my work culture. Our philosophy has always been to 'bring your whole self to work.' By doing so, we encourage an open and accepting workplace that allows everyone to contribute their personal best."
Cooley told Metro that being fired for those two reasons was "not a good feeling."
"It was like a really uncomfortable setting," he said. "It kind of made me feel really bad."
Local LGBTQ advocacy group the Youth Project called for Cooley's reinstatement and an apology.
Youth Project executive director Kate Shewan called on McDonald's and its individual franchise owners to update their policies on gender identity and sexual orientation.
"Youth are constantly telling us that they're denied employment opportunities because they're trans — we hear it happening all the time," Shewan said to Metro on Thursday. Shewan did not specify whether she was talking about any employment opportunities or opportunities specifically at McDonald's.
Cooley's mother is considering bringing McDonald's to court, though Cooley really wants an apology.
McDonald's did not immediately return a request for comment.