Gini Dietrich

The Chick-fil-A PR Crisis

By: Gini Dietrich | July 26, 2012 | 

I’ve been in Canada all week, in meetings with clients, sitting in new business meetings with our Thornley Fallis colleagues, and speaking at Third Tuesday (and at SocialMix today). So I haven’t been able to keep up on the news as much as I typically do.

So when the Chick-fil-A fiasco hit my inbox earlier this week, I made a mental note to make sure I got back to it when I got home.

But then I learned they were creating fake Facebook accounts to tell their story and I knew it couldn’t wait.

The Background

For those of you who haven’t yet heard what’s going on, the story goes like this.

On July 18, Chick-fil-A president and COO, Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press the company opposes same-sex marriage. His direct quote:

We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

Of course that’s bad  enough in our day where parts of our population are not supported in certain areas (including Sally Ride and her partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, who spent 27 years together).

Boston’s Mayor issued a statement saying Chick-fil-A is not welcome in the city. And our own Chicago’s Mayor echoed his sentiments.

And Then

Jim Henson’s company decided to sever its business relationship with the fast food company. The company released a statement saying it supports diversity and inclusiveness. It also said the company is using the payment it received from Chick-fil-A, for Henson toys in kid’s meals, to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

That didn’t sit very well with Chick-fil-A, which issued a statement saying the toys had been taken out of stores because of safety issues, not because Henson’s company publicly severed the relationship.

But that’s not all!

The statement wasn’t enough. They then took to Facebook to defend the decision by creating fake Facebook accounts.

Yes, you heard me right. They created fake Facebook accounts, particularly of one Ms. Abby Farle, who was on the company’s page defending their decision.

Because the comments seemed odd and by someone people on the page hadn’t seen before (and because you can clearly see she’s lying, based on the image you see above), they flagged the comments (talk about self-policing!).

What they found is the account had been created only eight hours earlier and Abby’s avatar is a stock photo of a pretty young redhead.

The PR Lesson

It’s one thing to take a stance on your beliefs. Chick-fil-A has long been closed on Sundays, not changing their policy even after malls began opening on the Sabbath. And, yes, we live in a free country so it’s their prerogative to support – or not – all Americans.

But creating fake Facebook accounts and lying about why toys have been pulled from their meals?

There is no room for it. Maybe they could have gotten away with it before social media and the age of transparency. Perhaps there would have been a small media war between the two companies – a he said/she said story.

But the people wouldn’t have been able to quickly discover we were being duped.

Social media provides an amazing opportunity to connect and engage with your customers – the happy and unhappy ones. But when you alienate people, lie, and create fake accounts to defend your position, you’re going to be found out.

Behaving this way doesn’t seem very Christian to me.

Update: Chick-fil-A released a statement saying they did not create the two Facebook accounts (one was deleted and the other was outed, as you see above).

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • This whole thing just makes me sigh. 

    •  @katskrieger I feel like it just gets worse and worse.

  • VickiDay

    The whole thing sucks and I read yesterday in 2010, Chick-fil-A donated to infamous “ex-gay ministry” group Exodus. Exodus went to Uganda to spread its anti-gay message and Uganda promptly began a death penalty for gays campaign. African political horror – funded by Chick-fil-A.(Human rights advocates say that three U.S. evangelicals helped set the stage for a bill to execute homosexuals.)
    Being from the UK I find this all very disturbing but as a former retailer they have failed big time on Retail Rule #101 never bring your personal views/ prejudices onto the shop floor your there to serve and listen to your customer and their needs not preach 

    •  @VickiDay They’ve always led the company on their personal views. Which certainly is their right. From a PR perspective, it kills me that they’d alienate anyone. It can image this only hurts their financials.

      • @ginidietrich Just like Whole Foods and Excederin, I bet their revenues will increase, not decrease. We need to remember that social media lives in a vacuum. What we are seeingnisn’t reaching the average Joe/Jane.

        •  @BethHarte  @ginidietrich I think you’re right. I think most of the general public doesn’t care. And unlike most fast food restaurants, the customer base of Chick Fil A is incredibly loyal. They’ve built that into their culture. 

        • MackCollier

           @BethHarte  @ginidietrich This.  It will be a rallying cry for their fans, and their detractors.  And their fans have a more vested interest in sticking ‘to the fight’, so if anything the brand will probably benefit from this.

    • @VickiDay Do you have proof of this? And I don’t mean some emotional blog post, article or “cause” fund set up by or the like. I mean hard evidence. If not, you are adding onto the pile of slander. This is America, we are have freedom of religion, we can wear crosses in the workplace. CFA never, not once, said they were anti-gay. They are against gay “marriage,” which is not the same thing. And it was a franchise that worked with the pro-marriage non-profit (or whatever it was…I can find the link if you’d like). The point is if a gay CEO said “we are openly pro-gay marriage” and gave to non-profits that supported it, does that mean they are anti-heterosexual?? Even if they are, it is their right to be so.

      •  @BethHarte  @VickiDay @ginidietrich I’ll just throw in another wrench, that the company has an incredible record of hiring. I know of one NC owner operator who has two stores, and is very open as a lesbian. The company knows and has no problem with it. We visited that store, my niece worked there for a bit. And she has been an owner for probably 15 years.

      • jenzings

         @BethHarte  @VickiDay Their contributions to groups that are anti-gay is pretty well documented. Here’s a copy of the IRS 990 form from 2009, the Exodus contribution ($1K) is on p. 41:

        • jenzings

           @BethHarte  @VickiDay Ack…contributions…*are*.  Not is.
          Also, @KenMueller is correct–there is zero evidence of any hiring discrimination.

        •  @jenzings  @VickiDay I meant this statement: ” three U.S. evangelicals helped set the stage for a bill to execute homosexuals.” Stating that a corporation donates to a non-profit that supports their beliefs is different than accusing them of MURDER. 

  • jenzings

    Wait, wait, wait.
    Is it possible that they set up fake accounts? Yes. Is there any evidence they did so? No. There is literally not one shred of evidence that Chick-Fil-A *corporate* did this. It’s just as likely to be some incensed fanboy/fangirl.
    The Forbes article on this had a very interesting footnote. Only one person grabbed that screenshot. Every single article on this has pointed back to the screengrab of ONE person.
    Do brands do dumb things? Yes. And it’s entirely possible that is what is going on here. But I will need more evidence before I jump to that conclusion.
    My thoughts here:

    • MackCollier

       @jenzings Agreed, Chick-Fil A came out in less than 2 hours of Mashable & Buzz Feed ‘breaking’ the ‘news’ that they created these fake accounts, and said they didn’t do it.  
      I get that a lot of people don’t like Chick-Fil A’s stance here, but there’s no excuse for running stories accusing them of doing something without proof they did, or piggybacking on those stories.  

      •  @MackCollier  @jenzings If they are claiming they aren’t the ones that did it, I missed that (I am running way too fast right now, which I realize isn’t a good excuse). But, even so, based on their track record, I’m not sure I believe it.
        Regardless, there is a bigger lesson here about paying attention to what’s being said on your Facebook page – true or not. If this person did this on her own, it’s up to Chick-fil-A to set the record straight in the very same thread. It’s an amazing opportunity to tell the story and still maintain their stance.

        • jenzings

           @ginidietrich  @MackCollier True. But here’s a question. If this really was on their page, why is there only one screengrab of this in existence? Shouldn’t there be at least one more?
          Maybe on the heels of the Shell thing I’m wary of hoaxes. It’d be very easy to spoof a page. With SO many people commenting on this, I just find it very hard to believe that only ONE person was able to grab a screenshot of this.

        •  @jenzings  You raise very good points…and good point about Shell (which was entertaining to watch). 

        • MackCollier

           @ginidietrich  @jenzings Gini not sure if they set the record straight in the same thread (which as Jenzings points out it seems no one is actually linking to), but they did set the record straight on their FB page…14 hours ago.  And that came after responding to the original ‘story’ claiming they had set up the FB account, about 90 mins afterward.  Their monitoring and response time was stellar in this case.  
          The funny thing is, at this point there’s just as much out there to suggest that this was all orchestrated by one Reddit user, than Chick-Fil A is lying.  But which conclusion are most people jumping to….

        •  @MackCollier  @jenzings I’ll do some more research on this story and provide updates as I find additional information. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’ll try to set aside my opinion that I think they’re orchestrating this. 🙂

        • MackCollier

           @ginidietrich  @jenzings Good job with the update.

        • @ginidietrich @MackCollier @jenzings As we PR pros know, it takes time for corporate internal workings. To take their time and to investigate properly is the correct way to handle this. Just because we. An run at the speed of light with social media tools doesn’t mean we should…someone is bound to trip and stab themselves.

          The really sad thing about this the person who made the

        • [I hit enter too soon!] …the person/people who made the fake sign and the fake accounts, welp, they are sitting back laughing.

          My fear is that people are so desperate for likes, retweets, link bait, etc. that they’ve lost all sense of integrity or professionalism (Yes, Gizmodo and Mashable…I am talking about you.)

        •  @BethHarte What did Arrington say? Something like it’s expensive to be right and cheap to be first.

        •  @BethHarte P.S. I’ve been missing you tons…getting my Beth feed from Pinterest.

        • @ginidietrich Morning!!! Yes, it’s been a while. Congrats on the book! I hope you are doing well.

          (My break from social media didn’t last very long. Trying to rebuild some of my accounts, which has been an interesting experience. 😉 )

          A lot of journalists are coming out with that same sentiment since the Aurora, CO shooting and the journalist tying the shooter to the Tea Party just because he “Googled” his name.

          Rather than piling on, we all need to show — by our actions — that real PR pros sit back, do their diligence and then write. ;-). Perhaps your next post can be on the value/benefits of waiting (even when in the hot seat!) before making a public corporate statement or issuing a news release. And, how that journalists/bloggers should do the same. Just a thought…. 😉

    • Barbara Nixon

      @jenzings Thanks for posting your thoughts here. I was getting ready to link back to your post when I saw you already had.

  • Barbara Nixon

    Good morning, Gini. I am glad to see that @jenzings is chiming in on this Chick-Fil-A post.

    It’s concerning to me that I see so many people posting information regarding the reported sign in the Plano TX restaurant and the alleged Facebook “fake account” interchange as fact, when these two items keep referring back to a single source.

    I’ve met many of the people who work at Chick-Fil-A on their social media team, and it would floor me if these two things were actually supported by Chick-Fil-A. (It would not surprise me if the sign and fake account existed, but that Chick-Fil-A created them? Hard to believe. The company is much more savvy than that.)

    Just my two cents’ worth.

    Disclosure: Though I have never worked for or with Chick-Fil-A, the company has provided donations to the university where I teach.

    •  @Barbara Nixon  @jenzings I hope you’re right. I hope they are more savvy than this. And, if they are, they have an amazing opportunity to approach this “person” and set the story straight. The sign shows it was July 19 that the toys were recalled… not “three weeks ago…derr.” If that’s true, why not say, “We recalled the toys on XX date” and stay on message about the reason?

  • rdopping

    Ouch. The damage is done. Spin. Spin. Spin.

    •  @rdopping I think the damage was done even before the Henson deal.

  • rustyspeidel

    Not to mention just plain stupid. There is no quicker way to destroy your business than to deceive your customers and have them find out about it. Social media makes that so much easier.

    What’s sad is that this company has always stood firm in its evangelical Christian beliefs, but for some reason they blinked on this one. I guess they only go so far.

    •  @rustyspeidel I have zero problem with them standing up for what they believe in (even if I don’t agree with it). From the comments below, it sounds like they’re saying it wasn’t them. I’m not sure I believe it. Or maybe I’m just overly tired and too cynical.

  • mattdibble

    I believe you get back what you put out into the world. Chick fil A has put their bigoted beliefs out into the world… And whether they orchestrated it or not, they’re getting back what they have put out, IMO.

  • JeffHaws

    Being from Atlanta, it’s an especially interesting case to me. This is a brand that had been pretty much bulletproof in the South. The only thing anyone ever complained about was that they always craved chicken sandwiches on Sunday and would go banging the place’s door down trying to get in. Now, they’ve waded into the political arena, which is rarely part of a savvy business model.
    One of the interesting parts of religion for many is that it can give them a sense of righteousness in their positions on issues such as this. I imagine Dan Cathy is sitting back basically saying, “If God is with us, who can be against us?” As a private business, they may be willing even to sacrifice some profit and goodwill for the sake of stating what they believe to be what is “right,” according to their god. Given that, I suspect their strategy will be to sit back, let this play out and just state that their official policy is to “treat others” well, despite their behind-the-scenes machinations, funneling money to groups that push for the “traditional marriage” protection their leaders favor. It also makes me doubt they did the Facebook account, because there’s really no need for it. They feel they’re right with God, so people who disagree can say what they want.

    •  @JeffHaws I particularly like that they’ve said they’re still married to their first wives. Really? That’s just asking for trouble. But you’re right…they do feel right with God and only their financials will tell the story. Maybe it won’t hurt them at all. 

      • JeffHaws

         @ginidietrich Heh … right. It’s one thing to piss off the gay and gay-friendly community. Once you start picking on all the divorced people,even the homophobic people in the crowd start saying, “Whoa, whoa, now … Let’s not lose our heads here! My priest never said nothing about staying with that crazy woman.”

    • dangerdubs

       @JeffHaws I don’t think this would have been as big of a deal if the company’s money weren’t bankrolling these organizations or if Cathy hadn’t used the phrase “guilty as charged.” Chick-fil-A won’t suffer as much in the South; if anything, the old-school South will turn out in droves. 

      •   @JeffHaws Well, we know they’re not welcome in Chicago or Boston. So there’s that.

      • JeffHaws

         @dangerdubs Yeah, I’d agree with that. It’s much more about his comment confirming what many had suspected, which is that they’re donating to groups with the express purpose of supporting the cause of fighting gay marriage. If it was just this one man’s opinion, but it didn’t amount to direct support/opposition, it wouldn’t mean too much. Prior to this, I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt (partially because chicken is delicious) that their donations were just to Christian groups who happened to oppose gay marriage (as many of them do). Now, they get no such benefit, and I’m making my own #screwchickfila sandwich recipe, damn it.

  • Good or bad I wish people wouldn’t walk things back like this. If this is what you believe and this is the culture for your company…after all it does start at the top.  Then live and die by that culture.  We will see in the 4th Quarter whether standing by your believes and making that the company culture can keep them in business….
    Walking things back (well unless you really need to apologize, we all goof up) seems wishy washy to me and long term you erode your credibility.

    •  @keithprivette I totally agree with you. I have no problem with their stance (even if I don’t agree) and I LOVE their ad campaigns, but this is an entirely new world.

  • Gini, the company has issued a statement saying they didn’t create the accounts, and that account has been traced to one Reddit user, who apparently has no ties to Chick Fil A. I think we need to be careful.
    I’ve been watching this carefully for a variety of reasons, and I think they have handled themselves pretty well. There IS a lot of misinformation about a lot of this.

    • Oh, and the toy thing was a sign from one store put up by one owner. I’ve seen the recall notice by the company and it merely says they are pulling the toys. Nothing about safety. 

      •  @KenMueller Um, please see my update…which was there before you commented. 🙂

        •  @ginidietrich Yeah, but it completely changes the tone. I understand that. 

    • JCMorganKreidel

       @KenMueller @ginidietrich I was getting all set to let loose a screed on Muppet bashing.  Bashing really in all forms when I saw this update.  It’s good they’ve released a statement that it wasn’t them, and it was a fanbot.  Still, it does seem a bit suspicious that the pious morality statement and  removal of Henson Toys came around the same time, followed by the fake FB accounts.  Even if they prove 100% they weren’t behind the accounts, and renounce said pot stirrer, many people will believe it because they’ve already taken two credibility hits.  
      They’re totally free in our great country to publicly stand fast to their beliefs, and their former patrons are equally free to point out the smudges of the Chick-Fil-A glass house.  
      Can’t help wondering how the Muppets themselves would handle it – we take you now to Kermit the Frog with another fast breaking news story.  Wocka Wocka.

      •  @JCMorganKreidel  @ginidietrich Agreed. The problem is, it’s so easy to take more credibility hits because of people faking things. And so they then become a victim as well. No one should have to defend themselves against things like that. Let them defend themselves on the issues and facts, not on speculation and rumors.

  • StorchMurphy

     @ginidietrich I love this article! I have been wanting to write something myself since it happened, but I’ve been tied up. So, I’ll comment on yours! 🙂 Chick-Fil-A prides itself on its Christian values and has grown quite successful in this Country. They have also taken some PR hits in the past year, but nothing like this.
    Thank goodness we have free speech and they are free to exercise, but their actions after the backlash resemble more those of an angry hormonal teenager, and not a very honest one. And, I think this time, the company has done itself some long-term damage by 1) slamming the Muppets. Who does that???, 2) attempting to manipulate the blogosphere, and 3) engaging in childish antics, instead of defending their position and accepting the backlash they should have known would come from it. You can’t have it both ways.
    In this day and age, I’d love to know who the person was suggesting, “Hey, I have a great idea, let’s create fake supporters! That will work and nobody will find out!” LOL! Have they BEEN online in the past 10 years??
    Anyway, that’s all. Great write up. I couldn’t agree more.

    •  @StorchMurphy The Henson thing kind of makes me laugh. It’s become a crazy debate about what really happened. I guess we’ll never really know what’s true.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    I have never been so proud of Chicago’s mayor in my life – way to go Rahm!  And I have a whole new respect for Boston too!  I am Catholic and my religion as a whole doesn’t believe in same sex marriages but I (Patti Knight) believe that only God can be the real judge!

    •  @PattiRoseKnight Amen.

    • jenzings

       @PattiRoseKnight I disagree. I find it a bit chilling that public officials would seek to deny business permits to franchises, simply because of the political views of the corporate owners. This sort of behavior can cut both ways. It’s highly probable that denying building permits based on speech they don’t like is unconstitutional.
      I’m a proponent of same-sex marriage, and have contributed financially to the effort to retain that right in our state (NH). But there is something very wrong about using the hand of government to prevent a business from opening based on political views.

      •  @jenzings  @PattiRoseKnight See, as a Chicago native I was thrilled by this.  If they have discriminatory practices, then I agree whole heartedly! 

        • jenzings

           @sydcon_mktg  @PattiRoseKnight But that’s the point: there is zero evidence of any discriminatory behavior. If there were evidence of not serving gay patrons, or not hiring gay workers, there would be a reason to deny the permit based on past infractions. But there isn’t any–the opposition to gay marriage is solely the OPINION of the business owner.
          The Volokh Conspiracy, a legal blog, has a good writeup on why this is most likely unconstitutional.

        •  @jenzings  @PattiRoseKnight Expect for the fact that they have made large donations to anti gay/lesbian groups. Thats what upsets me.

        • jenzings

           @sydcon_mktg  @PattiRoseKnight I don’t like that either–which is why I choose not to patronize their business.
          But again, contributions are considered protected political speech, and should not be used as a criteria for granting a permit.
          I just keep thinking about how this could cut the other direction. There are plenty of very liberal businesses out there. Do we really want conservative mayors to have the power to deny them permits based on their beliefs, without any evidence of actual discriminatory behavior?

        • MackCollier

          “I just keep thinking about how this could cut the other direction. There are plenty of very liberal businesses out there. Do we really want conservative mayors to have the power to deny them permits based on their beliefs, without any evidence of actual discriminatory behavior?”
          Exactly.  How many conservative mayors right now are watching the reaction a few liberal mayors are getting from this, and thinking that they could pull a similar stunt if the opportunity arose?  
          As you alluded, a very slippery slope we are potentially headed down.

      • JeffHaws

         @jenzings  @PattiRoseKnight Yeah, as much as I hate to say it, I begrudgingly have to agree with jenzings here. It’s one thing for customers to decide to spend their money elsewhere due to … well, due to whatever reasons they want, really. But once government officials start showing favoritism toward one view or another, it does start to look like the government is advocating one opinion over another.
        Not to necessarily compare Chick-Fil-A with the KKK (although …), but it’s similar to when they tried recently to adopt a highway in Georgia and were blocked by the government. The ACLU is defending them in court against this government overstep, and I agree that it’s a case the ACLU should take on.
        I’m uncomfortable with opinions being legislated by the government, at least partially because my or your opinion might be next. Also because it seems to go against our fundamental principles as a nation.

      • kmskala

        That’s not how cities and businesses work. A business must file required paperwork before they locate to a city. A city has every right to accept or deny a business permit for whatever legal reason they see fit. There is nothing illegal about denying them their permit. It’s the same reason you don’t see adult toy shops or strip clubs on every corner of a city.

        • jenzings

          “Whatever legal reason”–yes, exactly. Which is why if there were proof of discriminatory behavior, and not just speech, this would be different.

        • kmskala

          And they could base it on Chick-Fil-A being a discriminatory business. They don’t support same-sex marriage, so do they have discriminatory hiring practices? Again, I go back to cities having the authority to keep bars and strip clubs out of their city. Additionally, in theory, if I’m a business owner next to Chick-Fil-A’s proposed location, I could argue to the city that it would negatively impact my business. If enough surrounding neighbors did that, they could bring if before the City Council for a vote.

        • jenzings

           @kmskala There is no evidence of them being a discriminatory business. You are attributing the opinions of the owner with the running of the business. There is no evidence of this, which is why the mayor(s) and Chicago alderman aren’t denying the permits based on evidence of violating the law.
          Strip clubs usually fall under a different zoning requirement, not at issue here. The article on Volokh clearly outlines the First Amendment violations that could arise.

      • PattiRoseKnight

         @jenzings Chicago has denied Walmart for years and that has kept the small shop owner in business in Chicago at least.  Don’t get me wrong I will travel to the burbs to go to Walmart but if they were all over Chicago the small shops would cease to exist.

        •  @PattiRoseKnight  @jenzings @ginidietrich @MackCollier I’m with Mack on this one. This really troubles me. I think it is dangerous precedent, and might even be illegal. The other thing that troubles me is that this decision is being made regarding money that they give to an organization, not on any practices in their restaurants. What about other fast food stores, or retailers, or even the Apple store, which admittedly has poor practices in terms of overseas sweatshops. To me, human rights trump what are being referred to as civil rights.
          I’ll throw one more wrench in the works. What has been described as anti-gay because of a stance on gay marriage is tricky. There is a segment of the gay population that does not want their relationships to be defined as marriage and oppose gay marriage as instituted by the state. Just Google it. I have friends in this camp because they do not want to be defined by such terms. They want to live their lives, as is, without the constraints put on them by the legal ramifications of what it means to be “married”.  My point being that there isn’t consensus, per se. So does that make these people anti-gay, if they are gay themselves and oppose gay marriage?

        • jenzings

           @PattiRoseKnight Yep–I’m very familiar with the long-running issues with WalMart (I should note that I moved to NH from Chicago in 2006, so I am familiar with the issues).
          The difference is that the permits denied to WalMart (or even the strip clubs referenced above) were based on actual factors cited such as parking, traffic, zoning issues, and so on. That is not the case here. The mayor and alderman are saying that they wish to deny permits based on the opinions held by the CEO of a company (I don’t know if this particular store is even corporate-owned or if it’s a franchise, which would be even further removed).
          If they were really intent on keeping this business out of Chicago instead of scoring political points, they would have found on-the-books reasons and used those as their basis for denial.

        • JeffHaws

           @KenMueller  @PattiRoseKnight  @jenzings  @ginidietrich  @MackCollier You have friends who want gay marriage to be illegal for EVERYONE because they personally don’t want their relationships defined by the state? Sounds rather selfish. Or am I misunderstanding you?

        • PattiRoseKnight

           @jenzings It is only my opinion but I believe that a CEO who has anti-gay opinions (and he has the right to those opinions) might want to keep them to himself if he wants to get his franchise into cities that are diverse.  Maybe he doesn’t care and that’s his right.  If people in Chicago don’t agree with Rahm’s view they can always vote against him in the next election but I think this might get him more votes vs. losing votes.  Like I said this is just my opinion and the beauty of living in the United States is that we are all entitled to an opinion.

        •  @JeffHaws  @PattiRoseKnight  @jenzings  @ginidietrich  @MackCollier They believe that marriage is defined and controlled by the state, and that by getting “married” you are giving the state more control over what you do. They feel it hurts the overall cause of gays in the U.S.

        •  @JeffHaws  @PattiRoseKnight  @jenzings  @ginidietrich  @MackCollier And I’m not just talking friends, there is a national movement. There seems to be a feeling that all people who are similar have to feel the same way. that troubles me. Not all gays have to vote the same or feel the same about these issues, in the same way that some African-Americans are vilified if they don’t vote a certain way, or support certain measures. 

        • JeffHaws

           @KenMueller  @PattiRoseKnight  @jenzings  @ginidietrich  @MackCollier I don’t really hear that. But it’s the benefits that go along with “marriage” that are what’s at stake here. There’s no reason gay couples would want to forego rights afforded other couples, is there? Such as tax benefits, hospital visitation, etc.? How would having the option of marriage give the state any control over anything you do?

        •  @JeffHaws  @PattiRoseKnight  @jenzings  @ginidietrich  @MackCollier I”m not on the inside, so I don’t understand the thinking. That’s just what I’ve been reading online and hearing from friends in the gay community. Hospital visitation is taken care of through power of attorney and other legal papers. But other than that, I don’t know all of the thinking behind it, just reporting what I’m being told. 

        • JeffHaws

           @KenMueller  @PattiRoseKnight  @jenzings  @ginidietrich  @MackCollier Right. That’s fair. Certainly, all members of any group aren’t going to agree. But I’d also point out that, just because you’re a member of a particular out-group doesn’t mean your views on the equality issues of your group make any sense.
          I’d be interested to hear a sensible argument that simply having the same OPTION to get married that every other couple has would somehow have the government impose something upon you or have more control over you, and make gay couples WORSE off than they are without that option. That’d be fascinating reasoning.

        •  @KenMueller  @JeffHaws  @PattiRoseKnight  @jenzings  @ginidietrich  @MackCollier 
          I think a reasonable policy would be for the State not to define marriage for anyone. That’s for churches to decide. I lived down the street from a “Community Church” for years and same-sex couples were married long before the state stepped in. Churches -> marriage, government -> domestic partnership’s legal privileges and obligations .

        • JeffHaws

           @barrettrossie  @KenMueller  @JeffHaws  @PattiRoseKnight  @jenzings  @ginidietrich  @MackCollier In a vacuum, that’d be a fine policy. Problem is, we have to deal in reality. And the reality is, marriage is entrenched in society, and the government is entrenched in marriage. Assuming your proposal isn’t ever going to happen (I’d say it’s almost certain it won’t), let’s look at the best possible solution given the parameters of the reality in which we live. That would be to offer the same rights to all couples, regardless of the sex of those involved. If that means marriage, it means marriage.

  • We are getting a Chick-fil-A in Crystal Lake (opening soon).  I can say I have never been and dont intend to either.  I am really appalled at all of this. All this judgmentalism is sickening.  I am proud to say that I am raising my kids to believe everyone is equal and deserves respect and I think its awesome that it pisses my teenager daughter off that gay couples cant legally marry just like anyone else!  
    Also, as said below by @StorchMurphy who disses the muppets??? Cmon, seriously!!!

    •  @sydcon_mktg I bet their website isn’t mobile formatted either! Cads all around!

  • kmskala

    Unfortunately, this little blip won’t impact them at all in the long haul. There are a lot of people who support their decision, right or wrong. The thing about society is we are quick to forget. For every person pledging to not eat at their restaurants, there’s someone who has pledged to start (their chicken is delicious).
    That being said, this is just like Dominos and United — it shows that there are a lot of people who lack common sense. This will damage their brand for some, others won’t blink twice.

    •  @kmskala Yep. How long do you think the die-hard fans of Whole Foods boycotted them? Not long. Tails tucked between their legs, they started shopping for food again. 😉 

  • williamgiltner

    Thanks for the update, Gini.

  • Umm booya I love your last line. I knew you would write about this and I was just dying to see what you had to say but I never imagined that it would be about them now creating fake accounts and lying about toys getting pulled. Man oh man, not a good luck at all. I wonder who their crisis PR team is…someone should go deliver them so coffee because I have a feeling this is far from the end of it. 
    The question is…did are they lying again to try and cover up another mistake or was the Facebook account really created by someone else?

  • ladylaff

    All I can say is ‘REALLY?’ 

  • Ben_ProfitBlog

    I thought this was a free country.  Can’t people just choose not to eat there? 

  • PattiRoseKnight

    The beauty of this blog is people feel free to express their opinions instead of keeping silent.  I love this!  Chicago has always been a diverse city and what I love most about it.  Our mayor (a person) has the right to express his opinion and that is what I love about Chicago….if you think his comment was wrong you should have heard the million comments of Daley. 

    •  @PattiRoseKnight funny I was telling @ginidietrich that my comments on Ryan Holiday’s Huff Post article about HARO didn’t make it past the moderator. And while I was pretty blunt I did not curse or say anything that shouldn’t of been posted. Yay for @spinsucks 

  • sherrilynne

    Makes me shake my head.  Some people don’t have a clue.

  • EatMorIdiots

    Is Chick-fil-A anti-Jewish because Dan Cathy believes Jesus is the Son of God? Will New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg come forward and tell Chick-fil-A they are not welcome because of their anti-Semitism? There’s no doubt Chick-fil-A dropped the ball on the Henson issue, although I’m not convinced the fake Facebook account was their doing (seems to be a circumstantial case at best). But to say that Mr. Cathy’s beliefs automatically make him anti-gay is not true. Chick-fil-A has never denied service to anyone based on his/her race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. Not ever. If you disagree with his stand on marriage, don’t eat there. I’d like to think the Mayors of Boston and Chicago have more pressing issues to address than whether or not a business should be licensed in their cities.

  • I have experience in politics (ran a campaign, media/sm rep for 2 others) and I’m in Minnesota, where a ballot initiative banning Universal Marriage is on the ballot.  So I get to see these things up close and pretty intensely.
    I don’t think companies should ever get into these issues unless they have it well thought out from many angles.  That includes people on “my side”, such as General Mills.  Corporate speech and politics is a much more dangerous mix than the issues around Citizens United.
    For example, the fake facebook account may not have been created by Chick-fil-a – there are many people who would do that in support of a new ally in the midst of a media storm.  But this is how it all spins very far out of control very quickly when you stray into emotional issues far afield from your corporate mission.
    The best advice to companies who want to take a stand?  Do it behind the scenes, and if that doesn’t seem good enough and you want to be public have people completely on watch for bad behavior on your side as well as the other.  It’s a time for quick action and rising above the circus that will result.
    General Mills did pretty well here managing their foray into the Universal Marriage issue. When they had protesters, the CEO brought them coffee.  It was cute.  But most of the time the fire and fury will catch a company far off guard, and that’s happening to Chick-fil-a right now.

    •  @wabbitoid I agree. While these folks are privately held, many businesses are public companies and do a disservice to shareholders if they alienate half their customer base for being bigots or jerks or asshats.

  • nateriggs

    I’ve spent many dinners at Chic-fil-Et in the past few years. It’s usually where my wife and I meet my son’s mom and stepdad for chats about our schedule with Kaden since there’s a location close to his former pre-school.
    The part that peeved me the most in the statement (and one that I thought might be even have more of a negative impact on Chic-fil-A’s business) was this:  
    “…and we are married to our first wives.”
    Umm. WTF?!?
    So basically, Cathy has not only condemned Gay and Lesbian couples — he’s also condemning blended and step-families (and remarriage all together for that matter) as not fitting with their version of “biblical definition”.  #elitistdouchbag if you ask my opinion!
    That seems to border on religious extremist and really strikes a chord with me since I’m what you’d consider a more liberal Catholic (liek @PattiRoseKnight below) as well as a blended family dad who has dropped countless dollars at their locations.
    From a business perspective, what a stupid thing to say too!
    Speaking against Gay and Lesbian couples is bad enough, but in reality, it’s probably not the ‘aspirational’ audience of Chic-fil-A. They are very deliberiate in their focused targeting of families with multiple children in the household. The end game is to drive up the average guest check and increase sales. More kids means more dollars in the door.
    Think about that for a second — what families typically have the highest number of kids?  Thaaaat’s right folks … blended families and families joined by divorce and remarriage. With the current divorce rate near 50% in the U.S., that audience is VERY large.
    In the end, their food is still light years better (and healthier) than McDonalds, and the service at the restaurant level is outstanding.  Great operations execution will usually trump PR and marketing in the chain restaurant business.
    For me though, it looks like we might need to find a new meeting spot for our all-family meetings. It seems that our kind is no longer officially welcome at Chic-fil-A…

    •  @nateriggs wow very astute of you. I am getting married to someone who has never been married but has a beautiful 1 yr old girl. The father luckily isn’t in the picture. But with more kids being born into single parent families these days. And 50% divorce rates I guess they just condemned half the US for being sinners? Including the 99.9% of that half that are good people like you and your wife etc?

      • nateriggs

         @HowieSPM It’s just amazing to me how people’s belief structure can trump better judgement.  Everyone is entitled to believe what they want – I don’t challenge that at all – but from a business/PR/Marketing perspective? The whole thing was a staunch, mindless statement…

  • Chic-FilA is our family’s first choice for fast food; in fact its the only choice. Now, it’s time to boycott, eh? 
    Not sure where PR people get trained; another sad day in our circles IF PR had any hand in this debacle…not sure any benefit of the doubt is worthy on this note. Sigh.

  • MikeSchaffer

    As a rule, I don’t like copying myself on multiple platforms, but this is what I posted on Facebook this morning:
    “While I definitely have a side in the Chick-Fil-A/equal marriage debate, I find the discussion so American. A company states what they believe and people vote with their wallets. Free speech, meet capitalism.”
    At the end of the day, sales of the product are what matter. Company leadership is free to voice their opinion. However, the flip side is true that the customer is not required to keep spending money there. 
    If a company takes a strong stand and then tries to cover it up by using deceitful tactics…well…that tells you all you need to know, doesn’t it?

  • britt_thomas

    I’ve been hearing rumblings that the fake account may have been created by Chick-Fil-A protesters as a way to generate more bad press. Given the Chick-Fil-A statement above, this may be the case.
    It’s also possible that a Chick-Fil-A employee (not necessarily in the Communications department) created the account to stand up for the company. I’ve witnessed that happen in the midst of an electronics company’s issue.
    Not standing up for Chick-Fil-A here. Just pointing out that there are other possibilities since it can be difficult and time consuming to verify who is responsible for content online.

  • Isn’t bigotry and narrow mindedness so ugly?

  • susancellura

    I think that what makes this so hard is the emotional connection people have to the brand. It’s hard not to let that emotion influence the work one has to do around the brand. Communication professionals have to put walls up around emotions in this type of situation. I think the company should just let the story ride. Anything done publicly now just keeps the flames burning.
    The stores here are packed all the time. Yet I have noticed that no one in the office has mentioned it or has brought Chick-Fil-A lunch in since this situation erupted. I say this because we have two wonderful colleagues who are in committed same sex relationships.  But who knows? We aren’t supposed to talk about these things at work, supposedly.

  • TimPio

    I was a journalism minor in college, where I had a couple PR classes.  I still remember reading in our textbook about how Johnson & Johnson successfully handled PR for the Extra Strength Tylenol crisis.  I’m sure it’s still in PR textbooks today as the proper way to handle a crisis.  I have a feeling this Chic-fil-A crisis may also be featured in future PR textbooks on how NOT to handle a PR crisis.  Only time will tell. Thank you Gini for sharing your perspective. 

    •  @TimPio As a PR professor I offer this, if any journalism (or PR) textbook uses this example — in a negative light — it will just prove how little journalistic integrity is left in this country. 

  • Damn  Chick-Fil-A fools brought the wrath of Cookie Monster down upon the net. This is why Twitter is broken. 
    How do I know this? I just got off the phone with G-d and he told me so.
    In other news add me to the list of people who are not in favor of trying to ban the stores because I disagree with their narrow minded and provincial political perspectives.
    Let them open where they want to. As a consumer I will choose to spend my dollars elsewhere. But even though I disagree with their politics, I will fight to let them open because that slippery slope is a dangerous path to be on.

  • I love the argument, “This is what Chick-Fil-A believes. They are entitled to their opinion.” What if their belief was “We aren’t going to serve black people, because we believe that they are not worthy of dining in our white-only restaurant.” We would have none of this! Nevertheless, this belief used to exist. Now it doesn’t.
    Just because a business has a heartfelt belief (whether religion-based or not, but especially when it’s religion-based) does not mean it’s acceptable. And it certainly doesn’t mean it’s good business.

    •  @RizzoTees Except that belief does still exist. Maybe it’s not as accepted, maybe businesses and people are getting better at hiding their bigotry and prejudice. Sorry I just know that thinking ‘this isn’t for a woman’ or ‘this minority is lesser’ – that kind of thinking is wrong, but sadly those beliefs do exist. 

    • melissaohmyword

      But nobody has said they are not going to serve gay people so your example of not serving black people is unfounded. They don’t ask people if they are gay before serving them (or not) chicken! Guess what? There are bunches of business owners out there who also don’t support gay marriage so are you going to boycott them, too?

      •  @melissaohmyword I hear ya. You’re saying I used a spurious example and am guilty of specious reasoning. I can be more clear. Human beings (males, I suppose) used to deny women certain rights. Like voting and stuff. In many countries like the U.S., we changed our mind on this. Now women can vote. What was once great policy eventually turned into unacceptable discrimination. By today’s standards, the people that used to argue against women voting seem way out of touch, and just plain wrong, yeah? Same shit, different century.

    •  @RizzoTees Do you understand the concept of a “straw-man argument”? You’re arguing against an argument that no one is making. CFA has been consistent in their beliefs and values for, what, 50 years. It seems to have been pretty good for their business. 

      •  @barrettrossie I am not aghast at the inconsistency of their beliefs. On a side note, their spicy chicken sandwich is beyond tasty

  • Oh My Lord What in John 6:66 are they thinking?
    Now to find out the true power of social media. Let us see if people retweet and share on facebook and boycott and damage this company. Because in 6 months if everything is back to normal then we should never ever again say the ‘Power of Social Media’ ever again. And Klout will need to retract their whole mission statement.
    This is kind of Exhibit A B and C on if influence can be felt offline.
    I always knew they were ‘Devout’ since I tried them back in 1989 when I went to college in North Carolina. And after visiting a few times never went back. So they aren’t losing me as a customer. But hopefully they lose half. Enough to start a riot among franchise owners.

    • MackCollier

       @HowieSPM This has nothing to do with social media.  It’s about a CEO taking a hard stance that roughly half the country disagrees with, and half the country agrees with.  The vocal minority that is talking about this are split into two camps:  1 – Detractors of Chick-Fil A and 2 – Fans of Chick-Fil A.  
      The detractors will say they will vote with their wallets, while the fans will say they will support the brand and ‘eat more chikin’.  At the end of the day, the two groups will more or less cancel each other out.  If anything, this will likely rally the brand’s core fans to support them even more.

      •  @MackCollier possibly and again it is about social media. You basically in my view claimed there is little power for social media unlike so many evangelists claim. I dont view Social as powerful as many in the industry or who have biases proclaiming that power because it benefits them say it does.
        BP is going strong right? Toyota too. Revolutions still start because of oppression vs Facebook.
        So while I see Social affecting things I rarely see an example of it truly impacting. This is why I do think this is a case study. If C-F loses 30% of their customers would the other 70% eat there enough to make the money thing a wash? That is my curiosity.

        •  @MackCollier and one note. They attacked Big Bird, Kermit, and Ernie. I think that is more the issue than the gay bashing. I actually think gay bashing wouldn’t affect them as much as an assault on the beloved muppets.

        •  @HowieSPM  @MackCollier Social media in a vacuum, that is… “…evangelical Christian leaders whose inspirational messages of God’s love *perform about 30 times* as well as Twitter messages from pop culture powerhouses like Lady Gaga.” that… Evangelicals are more popular on Twitter than Lady Gaga. That means they are WAY more popular than social media experts talking about Chick-fil-A. 😉 

        • MackCollier

           @HowieSPM There is definitely power in social media, but it’s not like social media is the only or even best way people can express their opinion in this matter.  This is pretty simple, if you agree with the CEO’s stance, then you support the brand.  If you don’t, then you decide whether or not you want to continue eating there.  In order for there to be some massive outrage via social media channels, I think there has to be a vast majority feeling one way, and also feeling that they are powerless to do anything about the situation, and they need to raise awareness to effect change.
          Neither is the case in this situation, IMO.

        • MackCollier

           @HowieSPM How did they ‘attack’ the Muppets?  How did they ‘bash’ gays?  Disagreeing with someone or their actions alone doesn’t mean you are necessarily ‘attacking’, ‘bashing’ or ‘judging’ them.  I keep seeing a lot of talk about ‘live and let live’, well that applies to everyone.

        •  @MackCollier  @HowieSPM Dan Cathy’s stand is not anti-gay, it’s anti-gay marriage. I lived in San Francisco for 19 years. When the idea of full-on gay marriage fist became a viable issue, many of my gay friends looked at unhappily married straights and said — why would we ever want to be married? So when I see someone calling people who are against gay marriage “anti-gay”, I have to take it with a grain of salt. 

        • rustyspeidel

           @BethHarte  @HowieSPM  @MackCollier VERY astute observation that we the experts are only a small, small minority…

    •  @HowieSPM John 6:66…….mercy, you just stay far away from me when the lightning bolts start raining down. Classic Howie, classic. 

  • MSchechter

    Level of concern over the FB shenanigans: 2 out of 10 on the Richter scale. 
    Level of concern over the toy lies: 4 out of 10
    Level of concern that companies like this even exist: 10 out of 10
    This isn’t a PR crisis. This is crappy people being crappy.

    •  @MSchechter well said. I wonder how many companies create fake yelp accounts to improve the reviews

    •  @MSchechter Yeah… crappy until someone decides that their favorite “right” is being trampled. 
      I think Planned Parenthood is crappy. Totally crappy. I can’t believe they exist. 
      It’s funny how people decide who is crappy and who isn’t based on their own personal political agendas and not what is legal and Constitution in this country. 
      Hypocrisy to the max.

      • MSchechter

         @BethHarte You’re right… I’m sure this is likely a company where everyone, including gay employees, get a fair shake… 
        And feel free to find crappy whoever you find crappy, I certainly won’t call you out for hypocrisy for it. There’s this beautiful thing called opinions and we’re allowed if not encouraged to have them. Even if that opinion is thinking someone is an ass. Trust me, people think it about me all the time.

        •  @MSchechter I was simply trying to make a point. Sorry it was based on your comment. 🙂 My point is simply…everyone has an opinion. This is America, we are free to have one. But having one doesn’t give someone the right to shove it down my throat as a matter of public policy or politics when it suits them. I find so much hypocrisy in these sorts of conversations. No one seems to want to say that Dan Cathy has a legal right to his opinion, his freedom of religious beliefs and how he wants to run his company.  If someone doesn’t like what he stands for, then open up your own chicken fast food chain. But see, no one is really *that* committed to their beliefs.  

        •  @BethHarte I think what some people might be saying or feeling is that Mr Cathy’s beliefs, while currently legal, are distasteful to some. Further, hiding behind religion to espouse an untenable position that marginalizes a fellow human being (who ostensibly was created by God) is unacceptable to some. I think reasonable people want to respect the opinions of others, but it gets harder when those beliefs rub up against human rights.

        • MSchechter

           @BethHarte yes, points where one person calls another a hypocrite are often taken well and given the consideration they deserve…
          Dan Cathy absolutely has the right to his opinion. I also have the right to think his opinion makes him a crappy person. You also have the right to think that makes me a hypocrite.
          As for your final point, the commitment is in never supporting a company like that, not in caring enough to create your own chicken company. But hey, as you see above I like making over the top statements to make a point as well from time to time as well…

        • MSchechter

          whoops repeated my as wells there…

        • MackCollier

           @MSchechter  @BethHarte “You’re right… I’m sure this is likely a company where everyone, including gay employees, get a fair shake… ”
          The comments below seem to suggest that’s exactly the case.  But as human beings, in the end we all tend to believe what we want to believe.

        •  @RizzoTees …some people find abortion, while legal, distasteful. Further, hiding behind the legal system to espouse an untenable position that marginalizes a fellow human being (who was created by God) is unacceptable to a lot of people. I think it reasonable people want to respect the opinions of others, but it gets harder when those beliefs rub up against human rights. See how that works? 

        •  @MSchechter I wasn’t calling *you* specifically a hypocrite. Apologies if it came off that way. I was using your comment as a sounding board. 🙂
          I was saying that a lot of people commenting here are hypocrites. They want their “rights,” but they are not allowing Dan Cathy to have his. That’s hypocritical. 
          We can all have an opinion and vote with our wallets, but we cannot trample on someone else’s rights. 
          Being legally married as a gay couple is not legal in some States/Commonwealths. This is not Dan Cathy’s fault or his issue. If people want others to have the right civil unions (which everyone who is married in a church, synagogue, etc. must do before their wedding date) whoever they wish, then it is the people’s responsibility to actively vote and work with politicians to make it happen.
          Being an armchair quarterback isn’t going to change whether or not gay civil unions become legal (or not). 

        • MSchechter

           @MackCollier  @BethHarte It will be interesting to see if even a few of their employees speak out on their behalf. You’re probably right that I’m drawing conclusions, but it’s a fairly logical conclusion to draw. There may be exceptions to the rule, but I can’t imagine this is the worlds gay friendliest company. I would LOVE to be wrong.

        • MSchechter

           @BethHarte Appreciate that, I did read it as pointed at me (as well as others), so thanks for the clarification.
          I have no problem with Dan Cathy thinking what he thinks, I also have no problem thinking what I think of him because of it. 
          To be frank, I could give a crap about the legality of it, I care about the humanity of it. And personally, I think it sucks, I also think it has nothing to do with a Chicken franchise, so why say it in an interview about your business other than to garner attention for your business. And if this is what they choose to do to invigorate their core customer, their chicken probably sucks 🙂
          Think of it this way, if McDonalds suddenly spoke out or donated to Planned Parenthood, you’d probably be unhappy enough about it to say so and would likely take your business elsewhere. 
          You’re right, being an armchair quarterback isn’t going to change a thing. Voting with our wallets and never giving that company another dollar again, might. 

        • rustyspeidel

           @BethHarte  @MSchechter Have an opinion, but have the stones to stick to it when the going gets rough and unpopular. 

        •  @BethHarte Yes, I do see that. I understand. 

        •  @MSchechter First, that’s a huge assumption right there. People have said over and over that they have gay employees and have never denied a gay person service. Anti-gay marriage does NOT equate to anti-gay.  
          Second, the legality and Constitution aspect of this conversation is huge and that’s the point people are missing.  He brought it up in conversation because the issue from the controversy that happened last year was brought up. The “humanity” of it is the hypocrisy of it… the other point I am trying to make here. People want to cry “oh, the humanity!” but they don’t have that same cry when it affects their beliefs/rights, like abortion. I
          It’s the “intolerance” of the “tolerance” gang that I can’t stand. If people want to align themselves with a party who’s freedom cry is tolerance, then you MUST be tolerant of all things. But alas, they pick and choose what/who should be awarded tolerance who should not. Again, it’s hypocritical. 

        •  @RizzoTees It’s just the flip side of the coin… 🙂 

        •  @BethHarte Yes indeed. To me, it seems incongruous to fight for the rights of one group of human beings while marginalizing another. That makes no sense to me.

        • MSchechter

           @BethHarte This statement:
          “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about,”
          From this interview:
           tells me what I need to know about the guy. Is it a huge assumption, yes. Am I comfortable making it in this case, yes. Am I wrong, probably, but I’m good with that.
          There’s no legal wrongdoing here, so I don’t see how it’s a huge aspect of this. I don’t like his opinion, I think it makes him a crappy person, therefore I will not support his business. No hypocrisy, just a choice. As for abortion, I feel differently than you and believe a woman has the right to choose, so I wouldn’t take up that cry. That said, I totally see why you would. You have to stand for what you believe in life as do I. I don’t expect this to change laws, just where I potentially buy chicken that’s probably been ground up, processed and reconstituted in the future.

        • MSchechter

           @BethHarte To clarify, the huge assumption is that his anti-gay marriage stance also translates to anti-gay.

        •  @MSchechter I agree with that statement up above. Who are we to question God? 😉 I disagree that anti-gay marriage = anti-gay. Marriage is between a man and a woman. That said, if someone wants a legally binding union, I could care less… It’s secular at that point.   
          You have a right to your opinion, I don’t argue that. Not one bit. And yes, you can change laws… with your vote! Anyone who has strong convictions, like you seem to have, should get involved in politics. It’s easy to do and it will also help people to understand how our government works.
          Like I said armchair quarterbacks help no one’s cause. 😉 Nice chatting with you!  

        • MSchechter

           @BethHarte Oh, I don’t think it does in all cases, just this one. I enjoyed that link you shared, but I do think the pivot away from Dan and toward Truett is telling. Good talking to you. 

        • MackCollier

           @BethHarte  “Anti-gay marriage does NOT equate to anti-gay.  ”
          Can you please say this again?  Also, being opposed to gay-marriage does NOT mean you hate gays.  I honestly have no idea where that comes from either.

        • MSchechter

           @MackCollier  @BethHarte I’m guessing it probably comes from gay people… but that’s just a guess.

        • MackCollier

           @MSchechter  @BethHarte Hmmm…so gays think half the country hates them?  I find that hard to believe.

        • MSchechter

           @MackCollier  @BethHarte Like I said before, best if we agree to disagree here.

        •  @MSchechter  That’s the silliest thing I have ever heard.
          Being pro-life doesn’t make someone anti-woman. Just like being pro-marriage (man/woman) doesn’t make someone anti-gay.Just an observation, but I think what we really need to ask is that if it is so acceptable, why is it only legal in 6 out of 50 States (and Washington D.C.). I am thinking that either proponents aren’t doing a very good job at getting out and voting or there aren’t as many proponents as people would like to think there are. Otherwise, it would be legal in a lot more states…especially the blue states. 
          cc:  @MackCollier 

        •  @MSchechter  That’s fair. And that’s why we live in the USA…we have the right to disagree. 🙂 cc: @MackCollier 

        • MSchechter

           @BethHarte  @MackCollier You keep wanting to compare pro-life, it’s not an apt comparison. There are similarities, but they are not the same. While these comparisons aren’t perfect either, I could just as easily point out that I’m sure blog comments surrounding things like desegregation and suffrage would have used similar excuses had blogs existed during those crappy parts of our history as well. 
          Since this is going so well and we’re accomplishing so much here, should we all talk about gun rights as well?

        •  @MSchechter  Abortion is absolutely an apt comparison, but you don’t see it that way because you want to offer “rights” to one select group (i.e. gay marriage/secular rights), but deny them to another (i.e. traditional marriage/religious rights). As long as the right meets *your* definition, then it is a “human” right.  
          Your view of human rights totally denies another group their rights at the very same time. And that viewpoint is completely hypocritical. Either you believe that ALL American’s have rights under the Constitution or you believe only select groups have rights. You can’t have it both ways. 
          “Being tolerant does not mean that I share another one’s belief. But it does mean that I acknowledge another one’s right to believe, and obey, his own conscience” — Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl.
          The tolerance gang would be smart to understand and heed Mr. Frankl’s words. 

        • MSchechter

           @BethHarte To clarify, since you seem so very eager to jump to the conclusion that what I’m saying is often the worst possible thing, I’m not saying it is a lesser issue. I’m just saying they are different and that comparing the two or conflating them isn’t helpful. This has nothing to do with how I feel on one issue on the other. I’m saying they are two different issues that should be discussed separately. Chances of us solving one 0% chances of us dealing with both without the conversation getting even more heated, far less.
          My viewpoint, which you seem to know so very much about (so cool how you’re totally in my head and seem to know what I’m thinking and totally get my view of the world, while understanding my entire belief structure, btw), is that this is already confusing enough and now I can’t even tell if the second paragraph you wrote has to do with abortion, gay rights or both.
          To clarify some more, my view, which strictly has to do with gay-marriage is that pro-gay marriage allows everyone access to something beautiful while anti-gay marriage prohibits someone else from something beautiful and I find that to be harmful and kind of crappy. It’s my belief, it’s not a law and even though there are probably plenty of wonderful people working at Chick-Fil-A, including a woman who wrote a wonderful conflicted post about her experiences as a gay employee there, I have this awesome thing called my right not to ever support a company whose president says what I believe to be horrible things and supports causes that I think are harmful. Even if that’s to the detriment of all the wonderful people working below him and flies in the face of one of many laws that I abide by, but don’t always agree with.
          As to the Anti-Gay Marriage vs. Anti-Gay. I see what you and Mack are saying and in most cases you’re probably right, but when I see people speak out about it with the vitriol of that man, they likely are. And while that vitriol may be entirely perceived on my end, it’s still my right to perceive it. And I don’t think you’d deny that the post you linked to earlier (the FB one from the store manager) seemed to go painfully out of its way to not talk to the character of that man, instead pivoting to both the company and the founder.
          But hey, now we’re bringing Holocaust survivors into the conversation, cause that’s bound to focus us… 

        •  @BethHarte  @MSchechter Yes but legally a man and man or a woman and a woman cannot get married by law not by religion.  I have no problem with religious institutions saying no to it. I kind of figure they will.  But legally we are discriminating a whole group of folks of obtaining the same status of us man and woman marriages.  That is discrimination period! And saying you can have something else like civil unions or domestic partnerships is nowhere even close as obtaining a marriage license.
          Here is a far fetch idea….let’s say there are other life out there and they decided to come by earth and live.  Now these other life forms are neither man or woman.  Let’s say a woman wants to marry this other life form can they obtain a marriage license?
          Oh and Beth I totally loved seeing you show up!!!!!!! I got really excited!

        • MackCollier

           @MSchechter  @BethHarte Whenever you try to apply the behavior of the perceived outliers as being representative of the majority (ie, ‘when I see people speak out it with the vitriol of that man’), then you argument is on very shaky ground.
          And for the record, I live in the Bible Belt of the South.  Hell I live in the freaking BUCKLE of the Bible Belt.  If every state in the union eventually makes gay marriage legal, Alabama will probably be the last one to do so.  I have been living here for over 4 decades and never in my life have I heard a single person in this state that overwhelming supports a gay marriage ban, say they hate gays.  In fact, I’ve never seen any person engage in any type of behavior that would make me even question if they think ill of gay people.
          It’s just not reality.  

        •  @MSchechter @keithprivette Trust me, I am not trying to make this a “heated” conversation. I am simply trying to point out one itty bitty thing…
          By forcing the rights of one group on another, there is reverse discrimination. 
          That’s it. That’s the only point I was trying to make. 
          And for the group that is all about “tolerance,” reverse discrimination is nothing at all tolerant.
          The Cathy’s have said nothing vitriolic or discriminatory. They are simply stating their religious beliefs, which is absolutely legal and they have a right to do. 
          They have said over and over that they do not discriminate against gay people. They have said that they do not support gay marriage as it is against their religious beliefs. (i.e. my point about abortion… it is against certain groups religious belief to take an unborn life.)
          What I wonder is how many people are willing to go up against Muslims who have the same belief…  Would people be willing to have the same outcry or would they fear what would happen?
          Christians are an easy target…
          And I say again, this is America… if you don’t like what you perceive to be discrimination, then absolutely get involved in politics, walk door-to-door to get people out to vote. But man, stop being an armchair quarterback. It’s tiring. 

        • MSchechter

           @MackCollier  @BethHarte As I said earlier, I agree, I should have said crappy people, just crappy person. That said, that crappy person will keep me from supporting the company he works for. As is my right. 
          As to the nuance of what someone who denies someone the right to gay marriage means about their feelings towards said gay people, it’s far more complicated and something I doubt you and I will ever 100% agree on (although I’d imagine if we kept digging we
          d find that both our mutual feelings on the issue are closer the the center than the extreme). 
          That said, I think we should let things sit as we’re essentially just going round and circles and that’s not solving anything and I’d imagine as unenjoyable for you as it is for me at this point.

        • MSchechter

           @BethHarte  @keithprivette The conversation is intrinsically emotionally charged, wasn’t suggesting you were making it so (although I won’t lie terms like silly, armchair quarterback and hypocrite certainly do get my blood boiling).
          I utterly disagree with the reverse discrimination point when it comes to gay marriage as they only thing you’re forcing on someone is the lack of an ability to deny something to someone else, but as I said to Mack above, I doubt either one of us will budge either one of us here.  
          As for the Dan Cathy and Dan Cathy only, you see it as a measured statement, I see it as a hateful one. We will never agree here either and likely never even come closer on the issue. 
          As to conflating it with abortion, well, I think I’ve already been clear that this complicates an already complicated issue. 
          Neither one of us is benefiting from this conversation, so let’s just end it. Feel free to get the last word in and add something else that’s highly irrelevant to the conversations such as our collective unwillingness to stand up to Muslims…

        •  @MSchechter  Yes, it’s your right to not eat at Chick-fil-a and to think Dan Cathy is a crappy person. I don’t deny that one bit.
          That said, to call people bigots and discriminatory because they stand up for their religious beliefs is treading on the very dangerous ground of reverse discrimination and bigotry. That’s the point. The reason I bring up Muslims is because no one seems to be so anxious to attack their religion/religious position. I find that very insightful…
          We don’t need to agree at all. I totally respect your beliefs and position on this matter… as I am tolerant of others. 😉 

        •  @MSchechter The ‘armchair quarterback’ and ‘hypocrite’ comments were meant to be emotionally charging. 🙂
          I want people to stop whining and DO SOMETHING. I don’t care what people believe in or support, but if someone believes that strongly, get involved in politics. 
          But to keep whining and trying to shove opinions down people’s throats without taking action (literal action!) is someone just being a mouthpiece.  
          I didn’t like something that was going on in our local politics, so I did something about it — I got involved. I walked door-to-door trying to get people to vote. Like I said above… it’s easy to get involved and to support a cause at a political level. 
          Have a great weekened, @MSchechter ! I have enjoyed our conversation. 🙂 

        •  @keithprivette Howdy! How have you been? I am back on “the FB” if you want to connect… 🙂 Have a great weekend.  

        • megtripp

           @MSchechter  @BethHarte
          The primary argument against gay marriage seems to be that marriage is a religious act, and if your deity of choice does not dig homosexuality, it’s not going to be cool with gay people getting married, and so it shouldn’t happen. Marriage by that definition would appear to be a partnership between a man and a woman for the purposes of joining households and procreating and doing all the other traditional combined-lives stuff.
          But, if there is a) separation of church and state, and b) freedom of religious expression, then there is no faith perspective to take into account in government policy AND there isn’t a single faith perspective to take into account, regardless. Not every religion that performs marriage ceremonies believes marriage is limited to a man and a woman, so are we saying that true marriage is solely Judeo-Christian? Or maybe just Judeo-Christian and whoever else believes marriage is only between a man and a woman? If that were the case, and the only marriages that exist were performed by Judeo-Christian clergy and all Judeo-Christian clergy believed homosexuals should not marry, then marriage wouldn’t be a political issue, it would be a Judeo-Christian one. But I applied for a marriage license in city hall (nothing religious there), and was married by a JP (nothing religious there), so apparently this is a government thing now. And people are married in Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. ceremonies, so the institution of marriage is not solely Judeo Christian.Which would mean anyone could have whatever view they wanted based on their religious perspective, and live their lives the way they wanted to live them, and not have a say in what anyone else did. (And by the way, if we’re all going to be sticklers about the whole Judeo-Christian thing, that would also mean people shouldn’t get married unless they’re intending to have families, and that would knock out a LOT of Christians I know. But no one’s trying to stop them from ruining marriage! If we were doing that, I’d barely get in under the wire by marrying someone who already had a kid, and even then, oops, he’d been divorced. Is THAT okay?) Regardless, what the heck does what anyone believes religiously speaking have to do with what a government does? You can be against whatever you want, but the government is not subject to your religious views other than the way you use your vote to reflect them — that’s a major tenet of American government. But YOU can be. You don’t have to marry a gay person or to see two gay people get married or perform a marriage for gay people if you don’t want. The pro-life conversation centers around the origin of life question, but again, the government is not subject to any religion’s view of the origin of life. YOU are subject to your religion’s view of the origin of life, which means you don’t have to get an abortion. If there is a vote on abortion, you can vote according to your perspective.But the fact that we’re voting about these things at all points to an already existing bias in government, and a bias that seems to be limited to very specific areas of law and life. And now that those things are slowly being legalized, I can see why people are freaking out that the bias is shifting away from their religious tradition. Isn’t that closer to the constitutional definition of gov’t, though?And if we’re getting to vote on everything other people do according to our faith beliefs, why am I not getting to vote on whether or not assholes get to have children? .There’s plenty of stuff in the bible about how to treat kids, and I am not getting to vote on whether or not we hold parents to that.Regardless, you can shout how you feel about either issue to the skies, but if we live in a country with a separation of church and state, the government is not subject to your religious perspective outside of your vote. Which Chick Fil-A dude is exercising, and he can exercise it. But the only person he can or should be able to legally prevent being married to a gay person is himself. If we never forced any religions to perform any marriages they didn’t wish to perform and we didn’t force the government to limit marriages according to what any particular religions chose to do–as again, NO ONE RELIGION DEFINES MARRIAGE–I think we’d hit the balance. Because the one should not control what the other does. (And by the way, I AM a Christian, and the daughter and granddaughter of ministers. Whatever my personal views might be on any of these issues, I believe that government should be separate from religion.)

        • megtripp

          ZOMG all my formatting left the building. Sorry.

        • MackCollier

           @MSchechter  @BethHarte  @keithprivette To be fair MS, your first comment here included a reference to ‘crappy people’ with the possible implication that you feel anyone that doesn’t support gay marriage is a ‘crappy person’.  Personally, I think that set the tone to a degree for all the comments you have received.  Which is why I gave you a chance to clarify.  
          You definitely got some ‘charged’ replies here, but I think you also invited them, to a degree.  

        •  @megtripp  Meg, how have you been? Congrats on the wedding!  I totally agree with what you are saying. I have said in my comments that I don’t care if gay people join together in a legal civil union.  We do have separation of church and state and it is legal in six states (which, I find shockingly low for all the support people claim there is for gay marriage). 
          What I am saying, again, is that Dan Cathy has a right to his religious beliefs as well. He is being crucified in the media and blogosphere for his beliefs. And to me, that is hypocritical and intolerant as the pro-gay people don’t want to be on the receiving end of the same sort of judgment.
          I have also said from the beginning “vote with your wallet.” But more importantly get out and VOTE or work with people to educate them and get them out to vote. 
          We are on very thin ice if secularism overrides the right to freedom of religion in this country.
          I am just trying to get folks to consider BOTH sides of the coin… to be tolerant. 

        •  @megtripp BTW, I’d like to vote on who can get married and have kids… would make this country a better place. Alas, we don’t have that right. 😉 Have a great weekend! 

        •  @megtripp  Just something to ponder… Whether people or like it, historically marriage has always been defined by Judeo-Christianity. And Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist marriages have always been between a man and woman. Take that observation for what it’s worth to you (generic you… as in anyone reading this).

        • jenzings

           @BethHarte  @megtripp Re: “shockingly low”/only 6 states, etc.
          I can tell you from the experience of someone in one of the states where gay marriage is legal that, even though poll after poll has shown that more than 60% of the voters here support it, there was STILL an effort to overturn the law during our most recent legislative session. In short, legislators didn’t really care what the people of this state wanted, they still tried to overturn it. After significant hard lobbying, they (correctly) tabled the measure. And yet, the Speaker of the House here is STILL stating that one of his goals next year is to overturn the measure. His obsession with this, given New Hampshire’s support for gay marriage, borders on pathological.
          The acceptance of gay marriage has been one of the quickest tracked changes in American political opinion, and polls show the pace accelerating. ( ). It will take time for it to filter through to states, for sure. That doesn’t mean it isn’t occurring.

        •  @jenzings  Jen, something sounds terribly wrong there. Polls can be misleading and positioned to say anything (i.e. we can make stats say anything we’d like).
          But that said, if 60% of NH residents are for gay marriage and they vote accordingly, how an the State just overturn and not accept those votes? Maybe there is a piece of the legislation process not mentioned. 
          I just get the sense that either people aren’t voting the way they are speaking about issues. Here in PA (a very blue state), people talk about it, but I can’t remember the last time it came up for a specific vote… I need to check into that. 
          As always, thanks for the insightful comments and experience! cc:  @megtripp 

        • jenzings

           @BethHarte  I wasn’t too clear on how it came about–the legislature voted to recognize gay marriage in I think 2009. The bill was signed by the governor, and went into law. When the makeup of the NH House switched parties, they (despite running on economic, not social issues, and despite considerable polling that was done both before the vote in 2009 and after, which showed support for same sex marriage) decided to try and pass legislation that reversed the law. More polling continued to show support, and it was ultimately the outpouring of public comment telling them to leave this issue alone that cause the House to ultimately table the measure. The support here is unequivocal.
          What I believe is happening is that those who oppose gay marriage in this state know they don’t have the support or the votes to overturn it. They are using it as a fundraising issue, knowing that–at least here–there is a minority who will.not.let.this.go. So they get them all riled up so that they will donate and vote.

        • MSchechter

           @MackCollier  @BethHarte  @keithprivette A “possible implication” I’ve now corrected twice. And “all of the comments’ have been you and Beth, let’s not pretend there’s been some kind of groundswell here. Obviously you and Beth feel very strongly one way, and I strongly another. Let’s leave it at that.

        •  @jenzings Thanks for the clarification, Jen. 🙂 Have a great weekend! 

        •  @MSchechter That is a totally fair request. 😉 Have a great weekend. @MackCollier  @keithprivette 

        •  @BethHarte He IS free to express his opinion, and he must deal with the consequences – other people expressing THEIR opinions. And voting with their wallets.

        •  @BethHarte No one is taking away Dan Cathy’s rights, they’re calling him a bigot and foolish from a PR perspective.  Again, he has the right to his opinion, and I have the right to my outrage over his opinion.

    • MackCollier

      @MSchechter “This isn’t a PR crisis. This is crappy people being crappy.”
      This statement slightly confused me as did some of your later comments so I have to ask:  Who are these ‘crappy people’ you are talking about, and why do you feel they are ‘crappy’?

      • MSchechter

        @MackCollier crappy person being crappy would have been far more fitting a sentence. And if you have trouble seeing what’s crappy here, no comment from me is going to help you.

        • MackCollier

           @MSchechter  @MackCollier No, I had (and still do a bit) trouble figuring out who you thought ‘crappy people’ was.  I mean for all I knew you were trying to say that anyone that doesn’t support gay marriage is ‘crappy people’.  In which case, you’ve just thrown out a blanket statement that covers at least half the country’s population.
          Which is why I gave you a chance to clarify.  And for the record, I don’t think Dan is a crappy person just because he doesn’t support gay marriage anymore than I think you would be a crappy person if you DID.  

        • MSchechter

           @MackCollier I think it’s best if we agree to disagree.

  • As to the PR/SM fail, all this back and forth on statements and policies and clarifications and denouncements, I don’t know what they can do to to fix it – except of course, stop digging deeper! Any statement of recanting would seem lies to stop the backlash, and I’m not sure I’d believe it. Ditto replacing the CEO. 
    Think both @MackCollier and @HowieSPM  both got it right. In the long run I suspect when the votes are in, the wallets that vote ‘no’ won’t really have made much of a dent. Why not? See @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  and skipping on the kid’s favorite, trying to explain why not? Howie mentioned BP, Toyota. See also Exxon; many people probably swore ‘never again’ but I wonder how many truly never hit an ExxonMobil, don’t have any stock in a portfolio, how many truly turned their back on the brand? Yes there will be those for whom this issue is everything; but others will relent a time or two if this brand is the better or only option off the exit ramp. 
    IDK it’s a PR and SM issue yes, but unless they lose scores of talented franchisees, millions of customers – without adding new ones, when the dust settles I’m just not sure how much damage this will do to the business. FWIW.

    •  @3HatsComm  @MackCollier  @HowieSPM  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Well, it’s a family owned business, so the CEO would never be replaced. Also, I honestly think in the long run it will help them. This situation has been known for years and the gay community has opposed them for years, and as a result many haven’t eaten there. Many calling for a boycott already don’t eat there. And as Mack said elsewhere, the core customers will eat more.
      This isn’t McDonalds or Burger King where most fans are rather ambivalent. Chick Fil A fans are incredibly loyal. To the point where every time they open a new store, hundreds if not thousands camp out overnight for a chance to win free Chick Fil A for a year.
      And internally, they treat their employees better than just about any other company, and what you are hearing does not color their hiring process. And you’ll never find better customer service. All of this rolls into an experience that creates loyal fans.

      •  @KenMueller  Exactly.. it’s one of the brands I see as almost marketing-proof. I know I’ve called them the Disney of fast food. Maybe a new CEO would help, but would it really change pervasive attitudes there? IDK. Would I believe that change? IDK. But it would help me rationalize my guilt when I get a taste for chicken minis. 
        As to the loyalty, I’m not sure if it’s cause/effect. Yes some are rallying around the leader, their beliefs; but a lot of CFA diners probably are ambivalent on the issue, aren’t loyal to anything other than their cravings for a sandwich. Question on loyalty: If it was announced, don’t you think people would camp out at new McD’s for free food for a year? I mean they sell billions so they do have ‘fans’ and free is free, right? FWIW.

        • rustyspeidel

           @3HatsComm  @KenMueller Once could argue that the attitudes are perfectly fine–they just aren’t attitudes we all agree on. 

      •  @KenMueller  @3HatsComm      Yep, fat chance the Cathy family will can the Dan Cathy

  • dangerdubs

    What we are seeing in the Chick-fil-A drama is a culture war fought on the territory of fast food. As a company, you never want to unwittingly be the front upon which people fight their political and religious wars. The immediate issue is not Chick-fil-A or to whom it donates; the issue is one of worldview, values, and faith.

    •  @dangerdubs Funny, I don’t see any Muslims backing down from their beliefs. But people expect Christians to do it in the “name of business.” That’s backwards. 😉 

      • dangerdubs

         @BethHarte Chick-fil-A was not prepared for the backlash it would receive. I think there is a difference about being the front and unwittingly being on the front; Chick-fil-A was unwitting. It did not expect to be the battle ground for two worldviews. You never want to be a battle ground unless you are prepared for it. 

  • From the Chicago Trib: “Cathy was quoted July 16 in the Baptist Press saying he was “guilty as charged” for supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”  ”
    Oh! The horrors!!  Definitely, let’s all boycott a private company for holding a belief that more than half the country holds. The lines will be a lot shorter for everyone else. (I realize that Gini’s post wasn’t about religion; it was about PR.)
    I have a funny feeling that the cause of gay marriage is going to hurt in the long run from the over-reaction to this in the press, and Chick-fil-A will make more money than ever. 
    Just curious. I’d like to know how many of you have ever been to Chick-fil-A. I love Chick-fil-A and visit whenever I travel. Unfortunately, there isn’t one with 300 miles of my home. But I pretty much feel like these guys:

    •  @barrettrossie I LOVE TIM HAWKINS. That is all… 😉 

  • Can you say hypocrite? Nuff said……… 

  • ChristineEvans

    I think that any business’ choice to state their opinion on politics/religion is a big mistake. There is ALWAYS going to be someone out there that will disagree with you, why lose their business over an issue like this that has NOTHING to do with your business??

    •  @ChristineEvans Because it takes courage to stand behind one’s convictions. I just drove past a local bike shop that has huge a sign for pro-life services in the window. Guess what? If I need a new bike or bike repairs…that’s where I am heading. And, BTW, I didn’t see any pro-abortion protesters outside. 😉 

      • jenzings

         @BethHarte  @ChristineEvans That sort of–to me at least–builds Christine’s point. Unless they are providing pregnancy counseling (an odd side business for bikes, for sure) that would make me pass them by. Not protest, but it would certainly alienate me as a potential customer (a lucrative one, too–my husband does a lot of cycling and that gear is pricey).
        If every business did this, it could take me forever to get my shopping done…

        •  @jenzings  @ChristineEvans I think it takes courage to stand behind one’s convictions and religious beliefs. I respect them for that sign… you never know how many lives it will save and that is a blessing. And, they don’t look to be going out of business anytime soon, so… 😉

      •  @BethHarte  @ChristineEvans No such thing as Pro-Life beth. Just Pro-Birth. ask a pro-lifer if they can be taxed more to ensure every baby is housed, clothed, fed, educated, and given healthcare and they say no way. So just once the baby is born good luck. Rot. We don’t care. proof is the 1 million children who sleep on the street in the US every night. (check out who I did street outreach for 3 years in Los Angeles) No one cares about the children. Just getting them born. Pretty hypocritical if you ask me. Especially how many are also pro-War.

  • The thing that always gets me with this type of ‘PR failure’ and social outrage are their origins. People generally don’t take the necessary steps before they start to mash their keyboards in anger, if you live in Pennsylvania there’s a very good case study in Penn State right now, but I digress.When reading something like this, you have to take a step back, have your *whoa* moment to yourself, then dig in and do some research before you hit the keys. There are many factors, the morals this family was brought up to believe, the social structure of our nation, the 24/7 news machine, the pro and anti gay marriage battle, and so much more. But the kicker is, this all stems from donations made by CFA to christian organizations labeled as ‘anti gay’ in 2007/08 (their original pr nightmare), paired with a religious organizations interview with someone they find intriguing and successful, mix that with a quote (that I would argue is taken out of context if you did not read the full article or take the time to realize and understand the circumstances where the quote was taken) and you have an OMG CFA HATES GAYS debacle on your hands.I know we don’t always have the time to check sources, etc. But when I got to the end of the Baptist Press’ interview, and still in my ‘whoa moment’, I read the following…”We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”At that moment I thought, and believe. This man understands it may not be popular to say what he believes, but he also is showing that he understands everyone doesn’t share in his beliefs and finds value in respecting that, too.I’m now dumbfounded, seeing everyone around the web posting outraged (on both sides) as if someone swatted a bees nest. It all seems pretty childish to me. But those are my thoughts and you are quite entitled to yours, that’s what is great about the world and I’m happy that we can disagree sometimes.-Luke

    • … and OMG my formatting went away! sorry!

    • rustyspeidel

       @lwmace I agree with this, but then CFA should have the courage to be publicly consistent with those beliefs. Instead of trying to deflect and deny they should own them, stand by them, reiterate them, and don’t get caught trying to back away from them when the pocketbook or public rep of the company takes a hit.

      •  @rustyspeidel  @lwmace How are they backing away from? I followed this brand for years and they’re remarkably consistent. 

        • jenzings

           @barrettrossie  @rustyspeidel  @lwmace If I had to guess, it is the pains they took to separate the brand from Cathy’s comments after the fact. The “we’ll leave that in the political realm, we just want to build fans of tasty chicken.”

    •  @lwmace I posted the following on Facebook yesterday: 
      One of the pillars of this country is our freedom of speech. I disagree vehemently with the position and support that the owner of Chick-fil-A gives to groups that discriminate against gays, which is why I refuse to patronize his restaurants – I don’t want my money going into his pocket to enable him to financially support these groups. HOWEVER – it is his right as an American to hold views contrary to those I believe in, and to support those views, and I will defend his right to do so, even as I work in opposition to his views.
      The fact that so many others have finally awoke to something I’ve known about for years is what’s driving the furor, along with the fact that perpetual outrage is as close as our fingertips, is a new player in the game.

  • If you truly consider yourself a PR professional (and/or liberal or open-minded), then read this. It is worth your time. It’s from a CFA franchise owner. “No one has the time to discriminate, they are too busy trying to live up to the expectations that I have set.” 

    •  @BethHarte I think the franchise owners are caught in a pickle. I am sure plenty are not religious nor support the same views of the owners. Even placing the sign about the false recall was probably a directive from the top and I bet most didn’t even know what was happening.
      They are just capitalists trying to make money. But they did choose to own a business as part of a company that is polarizing and for that I have no sympathy if this impacts them.

      •  @HowieSPM  @BethHarte Actually, the owner/operators would mostly be in line. They have a very strong vetting process because of the culture of the organization, and they aren’t really franchises, per se. There is a waiting of list of people who want to open restaurants, and the marketing studies they do on prospective locations is incredible. The prospective operators have to go to their school for training, which I believe is like 4 to 6 months. If you saw the printed materials and educational materials they have for even their rank and file employees, you’d be impressed. One of the most customer centric businesses I’ve ever seen. 
        Remember, this philosophy at the corporate level is nothing new. It has been common knowledge for years, even in the gay community. And every owner/operator is fully aware of this from day one.

        •  @KenMueller  they got 2 million new Likes on facebook and the company declared themselves a winner. 
          So being a Jewish by blood person who rejects organized religion (though was bar mitzvahed against his will!) and calls himself Taoist would not be allowed to own a franchise?

        •  @HowieSPM I honestly don’t know about the requirements and how they choose, but it is not a traditional franchise. The cost of entry is low: only $5,000, but I believe the parent company retains ownership, unlike other franchise opportunities. It’s structured differently. I do know that their philosophy and culture is not a secret and they are very up front about it, which is what got them in trouble in this instance. I also know, as I mentioned elsewhere in the comments, that there is at least one operator in NC who has two stores (I think the current rules are that an operator can only have one) who is a lesbian, and has been with the company for at least 15 years. 
          Also, I’m a bit confused by your statement that they are declaring this a win. I’ve not seen that anywhere.

        •  @KenMueller just tweeted you

  • In light of some of the comments here re: Chicago and Boston elected officials saying Chick Fil A isn’t welcome, and in light of comments posted about the danger of this, particularly by @MackCollier and @BethHarte , it’s interesting to see that even the ACLU of Illinois, while supporting same-sex marriage, agrees that this is a dangerous opinion for elected officials to take, and they don’t have a legal leg to stand on. (And yes this is Fox News and I know some will discount it solely on that reason alone, but it’s the quotes that are important)

    • jenzings

       @KenMueller  @MackCollier  @BethHarte And the mayor in Boston acknowledges he can’t block them:

    •  @KenMueller  @MackCollier  @BethHarte I take much more issue that they slandered the muppets a national beloved treasure than any narrow minded bigotry. The original Kermit is in the Smithsonian!
      How many businesses do we patronize that we are clueless that the owners or leaders are the opposite of our social and political views?
      Business leaders of consumer products really should keep quiet because many of us do vote with our wallet. I know I do.

  • danielschiller

    Jeepers, what a sh*t show. This is a fraught issue for any business to address, and particularly so in the off-handed way it was done. Full disclose, I’m totally in support of full marriage equality and have been for years. That said, as a communications professional I can’t see how CFA officials imagined this would add value to their business. Or their customers for that matter. Perhaps they would’ve been better advised to take a position on sustainability in the food supply or addressing nutrition issues. This is a distraction, and in the long run I believe they are on the wrong side of this issue making for a total waste of time, effort and money.

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  • allenmireles

    @neicolec Thanks for the retweet, Neicole. I have this uneasy feeling that you sent an email I never answered…sigh…sorry. All good here

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  • Coming back to this story, as the war continues. A Chicago alderman baited Chick-fil-A stating the company had agreed to stop supporting anti-gay organizations. Took Chick-fil-A 2 days to answer and said, “we make no such concessions.” The Sept. 24 Opinion page in WSJ tells the story about the ongoing saga and also the new intolerance. 

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