Ex-McDonald's CEO sued over alleged sexual relationships, nude videos

Ex-McDonald’s CEO sued over alleged sexual relationships, nude videos

Nathan Bomey
USA TODAYPublished 10:24 AM EDT Aug 10, 2020McDonald’s accused former CEO Steve Easterbrook of engaging in sexual relationships with three employees and conspiring to keep photographic and video evidence of those relationships secret in a willful violation of the company’s policies.The fast-food giant said Monday that it had filed a lawsuit against Easterbrook, seeking to force him to pay damages or to disgorge him of compensation that he retained when the company’s board fired him without cause in November.The company said an internal investigation recently discovered “dozens of nude, partially nude or sexually explicit photographs and videos of various women, including photographs of these Company employees, that Easterbrook had sent as attachments to messages from his Company e-mail account to his personal e-mail account.”McDonald’s said Easterbrook had “lied to the Company and the Board and destroyed information regarding” his behavior, which allegedly occurred in 2018 and 2019.Are dress clothes gone for good?: Store closings, bankruptcy cases pile up for business wear retailers during COVID-19COVID-19 fallout: Will Americans spend the record cash they’ve saved?Easterbrook also approved a stock grant worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to one of the women “shortly after their first sexual encounter and within days of their second,” McDonald’s alleged in the lawsuit, which was filed in a Delaware court.It was not immediately clear Monday how to reach Easterbrook for comment.Easterbrook, a citizen of the United Kingdom, was fired last year after he admitted to having had what McDonald’s called a “non-physical, consensual relationship involving texting and video calls” with an employee. That person was not one of the three women with whom Easterbrook allegedly had sexual relationships detailed in the lawsuit.The company said Monday that it had dismissed Easterbrook without cause and with a severance package because it did not have evidence of the other behavior at the time. But the internal investigation that has been ongoing since his departure revealed details that, McDonald’s said, would have led the company to fire him with cause and without a severance package, had it known all along.The alleged photographic and video evidence of Easterbrook’s sexual relationships had been deleted from his company-issued phone by the time he handed it over to McDonald’s upon his departure, the company said. But the emails containing the evidence he allegedly sent from his work account to his personal account were still housed on the company’s server, according to the lawsuit.Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.


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