I need to preface this post by saying: I love Chick-fil-A. I love their waffle fries and I especially love their spicy chicken sandwich. I could eat there three times a day. However, I am like many other consumers who do not pay attention to where corporations spend their money. Is this irresponsible of me? Probably.
Chick-fil-A anti-gay backlash has been rampant over the past week. Recently the restaurant chain came under fire for the amount of money they gave to anti-gay groups in 2009 — nearly 2 million dollars! The backlash was felt by the company as consumers began to choose sides and the debate went viral via Twitter and Facebook. Sites like Boycott Chick-fil-A sprang up overnight. Today, Chick-fil-A posted on their Facebook page that they would no longer participate in the political arena. Here is the post:
“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.
Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.
Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
In response to the choosing of sides and backlash I have some questions. Are consumers finally realizing the power they have? Have large corporations finally realized that consumers are not as ignorant as we once were? Are Christian based companies overstepping their boundaries by speaking out on “policy debates” or do they have a responsibility to do so? One thing is certain however: this is an example of how social media can disseminate information overnight and bring attention to an issue.