In The Wolf of Wall Street 2013, we see many references to "Working at McDonald's" all throughout the film:

My question here is: Were there any legal issues due to apparently looking down upon this fast food supplier organisation? I did search for it but I could not find any reference of such sorts.

And why was McDonald's referenced so many times?

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  • Couldn't find anything indicating that McDonalds sue the studio or anything, so I guess there wasn't any legal issues. Mar 2, 2017 at 14:36
  • @GustavoGabriel..Yes even I did search too. Thus my ques was intended to find out, if at ll Mc Donald's did not sue the production house, was it kind of a general funny reference which is common for (apparently)lazy people? Mar 2, 2017 at 14:38
  • @BCdotWEB Ofcourse I am not singling out this movie Sir. Its just that I was wondering if this is a colloquial was of pointing out to the supposed laziness of individuals. I just went through this post. Thanks a lot. Mar 2, 2017 at 15:01
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    Maybe McDonalds does not mind movies putting out the messages 1) You won't be highly paid at McDonalds, but you can always get a job. 2) Don't expect to be highly respected as our employee. - After all, once the applicant is in the selection process, they can always decide not to employee them. Who is going to be telling all their friends that they applied for work at Maccas .. and failed to get a job? Mar 2, 2017 at 17:09
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    If companies could sue for negative references (not outright libel), Arby's would have a hell of a case against The Simpson's.
    – aryxus
    Mar 2, 2017 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


Update related to first question, from Wikipedia's "defamation" entry:

For McDonalds to have a claim, McDonalds would have to be able to prove it was damaged by the statements. And to the extent the statements are matters of opinion, they are also protected "because opinions are inherently not falsifiable."

In other words, McDonalds would have to prove that it was damaged by the statements, and also prove that the statements are false. I'm not a lawyer or legal expert, but I would guess both claims would be hard to prove in court.

Interestingly, Wolf of Wall Street did get sued for defamation by Andrew Greene, who "filed a claim saying the character of Nicky Koskoff (played by PJ Byrne) bore a resemblance to himself. He said that the film-makers’ depiction of Koskoff was damaging to him, citing in court papers the character’s portrayal as a 'criminal, drug user, degenerate, depraved and devoid of any morals or ethics.'" I believe the lawsuit is still in process.

Regarding your second question:

McDonalds is the second largest private employer in the United States (behind Wal-Mart), hires about 1 million people per year, and has employed roughly 1 in every 8 American workers. Also, it's widely known that most jobs at McDonalds pay minimum wage or close to it.

With all this in mind, I'd guess that **Jordan chose to refer to working at McDonalds because it's the most widely available work in America and also offers very low pay -- a perfect contrast with how he wanted to portray work at his firm (highly exclusive and highly lucrative).

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