After years of criticism from the political left for supporting conservative groups, the American fast-food chain Chick-fil-A has invited more backlash over its decision to withdraw that support – this time, from the disenchanted right.
The Georgia-based company, which has famously supported Christian values for decades, announced on Monday that it would halt donations to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army, the two non-profits that have long been grilled by the LGBT community for opposing same-sex marriage.
Over the past two years, Chick-fil-A donated a total of more than $3.6 million to these two groups. This has drawn a lot of opposition from the left, and the company lost two airport concessions ,in Texas and New York, while its only outlet in the UK was forced to close its doors due to LGBT protests.
I just had @ChickfilA yesterday... but the protesters in Toronto are making me crave that Jesus chicken.— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) September 6, 2019
What to do, what to do....
I wonder if they know how ineffective their protest is, that it, in fact, has the exact opposite intended effect.pic.twitter.com/ubCi6SbVzY
In an apparent bid to pacify the critics, Chick-fil-A announced that its giving would now focus exclusively on education, hunger and homelessness. It left open the opportunity for donating to “faith-based” groups in the future, however.
The franchise is well known for promoting the Christian causes: it closes all locations every Sunday as a day for worship and family, while its CEO, Dan Cathy, has openly supported the “biblical definition of the family unit”, i.e. the marriage between a man and a woman.
This stance has earned Chick-fil-A a lot of supporters and helped it enjoy 51 consecutive years of growth by 2019. The company managed to become the third-largest restaurant chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, and boost its sales by 16.7 percent in 2018 to nearly $10.5 billion.
But the latest overhaul of its charitable giving policy has not resonated well with many critics. A tweetstorm erupted following Monday’s announcement, with many blaming the company for caving in to pressure from the left.
Here are some of the reactions:
- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee: “The sad message of Chick-fil-A is quite clear- they surrendered to anti-Christian hate groups. Tragic.”
- Political commentator and public speaker Ben Shapiro: “Chick-fil-A has survived and thrived because they served everyone AND refused to cater to the cancel culture. Now they’ve caved at the behest of the censorious Left.”
- Dave Rubin of the Rubin Report talk show: “Chick-fil-A was actually cool because it stood up to the progressive mind virus which is cancel culture. I’m not going back to that sad, dry, pathetic Burger King chicken sandwich. No way, no how.”
- Rod Dreher of The American Conservative: “Shame, shame on you, Chick-fil-A. You are the 3rd most successful fast food franchise in the US. You had no reason to capitulate. But you did.”
- Commentator and talk radio host Jesse Kelly: “The LGBT bully mob is unquestionably the most powerful mob in America today. Everyone bends the knee or risk their wrath.”
- Dan Gainor from the non-profit Media Research Center: “Our friends from Chick-fil-A backstabbing the people who made them successful.”
Journalist and commentator Billy Hallowell: “Everyone stood by the company for standing by its values. That's what makes today a bit of a sad day for so many people who saw the company as a beacon of hope in a messed up culture.”