Will Chick-fil-A’s stance on same-sex marriage hurt its bottom line?
Last week’s social media firestorm—ignited by Chick-fil-A CEO Don Cathy’s comments that his company supports traditional marriage
—has leapt from the screen to the nation’s city halls as officials in Chicago and Boston have moved to prevent the chain from opening new stores in their cities.
Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno promised to block the fast feeder from opening a location in his ward, which would be the second Chick-fil-A in the Windy City. Moreno told the Chicago Tribune
: “If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don't want you in the 1st Ward.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel lent his support to Moreno, saying: “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”
said a Chick-fil-A public relations rep asked the paper to email questions, which the company did not answer.
In Boston, Mayor Thomas M. Menino vowed to stop Chick-fil-A from opening its first location in the city’s tourist hotspot Freedom Trail. He told the Boston Herald
“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against the population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion. That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”
PR reps from Chick-fil-A did not respond to the Herald
’s multiple requests for comment.
Last week, the Baptist Press published an interview with Cathy, in which he offered his remarks on traditional marriage, including that he believes “we’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation.” Within days, Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page was inundated with mostly negative comments about its position.
The company issued a statement
to try to put the issue to bed, promising to leave the same-sex marriage debate to the political arena. The statement failed to squelch the uproar from people promising to boycott Chick-fil-A.
Among those boycotting Chick-fil-A are the Muppets, sort of. Although the Muppets are now the property of Disney, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop—which created the iconic characters—provides toys for Chick-fil-A kids meals. Last Friday, the company said in a Facebook post
that it was severing ties with the chicken chain.
One day later, Chick-fil-A announced a “voluntary recall
” of the toys. Observers called it PR jockeying on the part of both companie
Meanwhile, a number of people have defended Chick-fil-A.
“There is no reason this should offend anyone,” a PR Daily commenter said last week
. “They are obviously not taking a violent or hate-filled stance toward gays. It infuriates me that conservative Christians are not allowed an opinion. All are entitled to a position. If it bothers people so much, don't eat there. Simple.”
The Chick-fil-A uproar follows a similar incident last month in which Oreo released a rainbow cookie to mark gay pride month
. The Oreo page was flooded with negative comments, as opponents of gay-rights issues vowed to boycott the company.