Chick-Fil-A Lasts A Grand Total Of 8 Days In The U.K. After LGBTQ Groups Tell Them to 'Cluck Off'
Chik-Fil-A is known for two things: chicken sandwiches and ardent homophobia. Reportedly, their chicken sandwiches are very good (I would not know), which is probably why they have managed to continue selling them even in parts of the US that one would generally consider rather inhospitable to CEO Dan Cathy's views and habit of donating money to anti-gay organizations. There are at least three of them right here in Chicago. I don't know who is buying them, or why, when we have so many other quality chicken options here (I mean... Harold's exists and they deliver. So does Popeye's if you are looking for a fast food option), but someone is.
But you know where they are damn well not buying any homophobic chicken sandwiches? The U.K.!
Last week, Chik-Fil-A opened their very first restaurant across the pond at The Oracle shopping center in Reading. On Friday, a mere eight days after it opened, it was announced that it would soon be closing. Following a boycott led by Reading Pride, an LGBTQ advocacy group, a spokeswoman for the center told the BBC that they came to realize that "the right thing to do" would be to not extend the company's lease.
"We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however, we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-Fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further."
It sure is! Reading Pride says they are happy with the outcome, and feel a six month grace period is fair, as it would allow employees enough time to find another job.
In a previous statement to the BBC, Chik-Fil-A said:
"Our giving has always focused on youth and education. We have never donated with the purpose of supporting a social or political agenda.
"There are 145,000 people - black, white; gay, straight; Christian, non-Christian - who represent Chick-fil-A."
This would be lovely if it weren't for the fact that Chik-Fil-A very notably donates to several anti-LGBT organizations, as ThinkProgress reported earlier this year:
The donations — $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and $150,000 to the Salvation Army — actually represent a slight increase from the previous year. The foundation's funding comes almost entirely from the corporate treasury and shares leadership with the company.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a religious organization that seeks to spread an anti-LGBTQ message to college athletes and requires a strict "sexual purity" policy for its employees that bars any "homosexual acts." Paul Anderson Youth Home, a "Christian residential home for trouble youth," teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."
Just as there are many, many other chicken sandwiches in the world, so too are there many very worthy charities in the world that have absolutely nothing to do with being shitty to gay people. Most, even! Pretty much all Chik-Fil-A would have to do in order to be able to go to England or not have people boycott them here, in America, would be to donate to one of those many, many, non-homophobic non-profits instead of who they are donating now. And also never, ever, ever let CEO Dan Cathy talk publicly about anything, ever again. And thoroughly apologize for their past bullshit, ideally backing that up with a nice big donation to an LGBTQ rights organization. They could do all of those things and be on their way to being just a normal fast food restaurant instead of an international symbol of hate, but they won't. And that's on them.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse