Chick-fil-A has faced protests before over its support of conservative groups that oppose gay rights, but the company's top executives avoided spelling out where they stood... until now. The 1,600-restaurant chain's president, Dan Cathy, told Baptist Press that, as many suspected, Chick-fil-A's donations to groups such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council do mean that it's officially against gay marriage. "Guilty as charged," Cathy said. "We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit." The backlash was immediate, with both supporters and critics posting a wave of comments to the company's Facebook page and actor Ed Helms (The Office), a fan of the chain's fried chicken sandwiches, calling for a boycott. Will Cathy's straight answer prove bad for business?
Yes, this was clearly a big mistake: Cathy has a right to his opinion, of course, says Lorraine Devon Wilke at The Huffington Post. "But as the president of a company that feeds the public — the big, unwieldy, melting-pot public" — his rant against gays and lesbians "is not only distasteful, it is stupidly counterproductive to business." He's practically begging every customer who supports gay rights to go eat elsewhere, and the hungry, progressive hordes will be happy to oblige.
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Most activists are already boycotting: This blunt stand certainly riled up gay rights activists, says Jimmy Borough at News for Shoppers. But aside from Ed Helms' condemnation, "the boycott doesn't appear to be taking on much steam, at least not yet." That's hardly a surprise, as there are already 40 Chick-fil-A boycott pages and groups on Facebook. Anyone inclined to boycott Chick-fil-A over its anti-gay politics is probably doing so already.
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Sorry, but being conservative isn't bad for business: The only thing Chick-fil-A is guilty of, says Ryan Robertson at News Busters, is being conservative. That's hardly earth-shattering news. The company "has been promoting biblical values since it first opened in the Atlanta area 66 years ago," as exemplified by its well-publicized philanthropy and its policy of closing on Sundays. Maybe some customers will protest, but a lot more will admire Cathy for standing up for the family values he believes in.
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