It appears Chick-fil-A has reversed course.
In a letter to Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, a Chick-fil-A exec insisted the company will no longer support groups with political agendas.
“The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas,” said the company’s director of real estate. (WinShape Foundations is the company’s charitable arm.)
Chicago-based The Civil Rights Agenda shared the comment in a press release posted to the nonprofit organization’s website
. According to BuzzFeed
, a Chick-fil-A spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the statement’s accuracy.
The press release added: “In meetings, [Chick-fil-A] executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations.” It listed Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage as examples of such groups.
According to media reports
, the fast feeder has given $5 million to groups that oppose same-sex marriage.
Chick-fil-A was among the summer’s hottest topics when its president thrust the fast feeder into the culture wars by stating that the company supports same-sex marriage. He also shared his belief that America is “inviting God’s judgment.”
When the story first broke in July, Chick-fil-A’s PR department tried to walk back the comments
by promising to leave the policy debate to the politicians.
The early PR efforts failed, and Chick-fil-A became the topic of debate for weeks. Along the way, the company’s longtime chief spokesperson Donald Perry died suddenly of a heart attack
and cities—including Chicago and Boston—vowed to block the opening of Chick-fil-A stores
Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, whose ward is where Chick-fil-A hopes to open its second location in the city, led the charge against the company. The Chicago Tribune reported
on Wednesday morning that Moreno has backed away from his opposition after striking an agreement in which the fast feeder has promised to release a statement of respect.
According to the Tribune
“Moreno said the statement will be included in a memo called ‘Chick-fil-A: Who We Are’ to be distributed to all corporate employees and restaurant operators. The alderman said the memo will state the company's commitment to ‘treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.’ It also would state that it is the company's ‘intent ... not to engage in political or social debates.’
Curiously, the memo doesn’t sound much different from Chick-fil-A’s initial response to the controversy:
“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
The reaction on Twitter has been tepid so far, with matter-of-fact tweets addressing the change of course. It’s nothing like the vitriolic tweets and Facebook updates that dominated online conversation when the topic first emerged.