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Alex Wright

#BoycottMcDonald's: Saudis avoid Mickey-D's after insect defamation threat

There are more than 80 McDonald's restaurants in the kingdom [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 October, 2015

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Saudi Twitter users have called for a boycott of McDonald's, after the burger giant filed a lawsuit against a man who claimed to have found a bug in his drink.
Saudi social media users have launched a campaign calling for a boycott against McDonald's, after the popular fast-food chain reportedly filed a lawsuit against a customer for complaining about finding an insect in his soft drink, according to local media.

While enjoying a meal at McDonald's last week, Abd al-Rahman bin Jumah claimed to have come across an insect crawling around in his Coca-Cola, prompting the Jeddah resident to tweet out a complaint against the restaurant to the local authorities.

      
       Jumah deleted his tweets after McDonald's filed suit
Jumah took several pictures of the bug and sent them to the Jeddah Municipality and McDonald's Saudi Arabia.

Local authorities then announced on social media that they had confirmed the validity of Jumah's accusation and had shut the restaurant down.

Things then took an unexpected turn.

McDonald's Saudi Arabia quickly fought back and issued an official statement that said: "Mr Jumah has confessed to defaming the company on social media and that the insect that he found was in no way inside his drink.

"It has become evident that [Jumah] and a group of his friends used the insect to procure financial gain," the statement added.

McDonald's also said it had dropped the lawsuit after Jumah had made an apology and promised he would not do it again.

On Thursday, Jumah released an apology via Twitter and deleted his old tweets documenting the incident.

"I apologise for the defamation have done to McDonald's on social media by making an inaccurate complaint, which was caused by a misunderstanding from me. The insect I found was in no way inside the restaurant," said Jumah.

Social media backlash

But in response, Saudi Twitter users lashed out at the world's largest hamburger fast food chain, using the Arabic-language hashtags #boycottMcDonalds and #McDonaldsPunishesACitizen.

"Hahaha that's really good, they put a cockroach in your drink and want you to shut up and drink it," joked one Twitter user.

"To be honest I don't blame him for apologising. He could have been imprisoned or been made to pay compensation to the company for defamation, all because of his ignorance of how to use the law against them," said another Twitter user.

"It's a disgusting restaurant, as if you're eating plastic. Boycott it for the sake of your health," said a Saudi Twitter user.

"It's expensive, its food is subpar, the portions are small and its drinks are half water," said another user.

But not everyone joined in the McDonald's-bashing.

Mohammad Bazaid said: "McDonald's has the right to file a defamation case against a man who published images of a cockroach in a cup that bears the company's logo. In turn, we also have the right to boycott McDonald's if the images are proven to be genuine."

After a two-year streak of slumping sales, McDonald's announced on Thursday that sales had recently seen an increase in the US.

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