Chick-fil-A social media policy
It’s no secret that fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A donates to anti-gay Christian charities — the chain has been getting flak from gay-rights groups for a while now on that. But this week, the company flunked crisis PR 101 and spawned a social-media firestorm with its inept handling of the issue. If there was a gay person — or supporter — left in the U.S.A. with a Facebook account who didn’t know about the boycott of Chick-Fil-A, there isn’t now.
The flames were re-ignited Tuesday when company president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press he is “guilty as charged” of donating to anti-gay charities. Then the company tried to fix the problem with an announcement on Chick-Fil-A’s Facebook page that sent the whole controversy massively viral. Here’s the exact verbiage:
“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.”
Translation: “We’d like to close our eyes now, count to ten, and you should forget all about our fervently avowed political views — which we won’t be changing — and go back to eating our chicken a lot.”
Which didn’t work.
This non-response didn’t answer the questions on many people’s minds: Will the company stop donating to groups that are actively opposing gay-marriage laws, and controversial “gay-curing” groups such as Exodus International? Also, how are gay employees treated at the company given the corporate culture?
By essentially refusing to address the issues its founder raised, Chick-Fil-A just made a lot of people madder.
Also. by issuing its statement only on its Facebook page — no official company press release was issued — Chick-Fil-A attempted to hide the controversy in a corner instead of facing it square-on. Unfortunately, the social-media corner is exactly the wrong corner for trying to hide something like this.
Now, you can check the Twitter hashtag #ChickFilGay for copycat chicken recipes so you can make the company’s sandwiches at home and avoid patronizing the chain. There’s also news of boycott parties being organized, along with an endless stream of remarks such as Emily Testerman’s @little__ghost: “farewell forever #chickfila, yer waffle fries and lil’ nugs can’t mask the bitter taste of your intolerance.”
Its own Facebook page is pretty colorful too — probably not what a Christian-values based company would like to see. Typical of the more PG-rated responses: “I’ll miss the food, but not the bigotry behind it.”
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