By SUZANNE DOWNING
Video surfaced this week from three years ago of a Chick-fil-A executive discussing race relations, putting the fast-food chain in an unwanted spotlight along with Bud Light, Target, J.Crew and Disney.
In the video, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy shares thoughts on Christian repentance and the need for an “apologised heart” toward Black Americans. He suggests that white Americans should “take the lead and fight for our black African American brothers and sisters.”
Filmed during a particularly tense period, when Black Lives Matter violence and looting swept across the United States, Cathy got down on one knee to shine the shoes of Black Christian rapper, Lecrae Moore.
This act reflects the biblical story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, a practice not unknown in the Christian movement for racial reconciliation. The poignant symbolism of washing the feet of those who may harbor anger and resentment towards your race is powerful.
However, in 2023, this reconciliation video was met with a metaphorical guillotine. Public frustration with ever-changing corporate “wake-up” ideologies has led some conservatives to call for a boycott of Chick-fil-A, a chain they helped elevate to the nation’s third-largest restaurant chain, behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks.
Critics say Chick-fil-A has entered the culture wars by also hiring a vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, seen by some as a move away from merit-based employment and a surrender to the “wake up” agenda. “.
Yet Chick-fil-A has been seeking liberal approval for more than a decade. Since its inception, the Chick-fil-A Foundation has faced vehement criticism from LGBTQ advocates for donations made to pro-family organizations like Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage and even the Paul Anderson Youth Home. Under pressure, Chick-fil-A caved.
In 2019, ThinkProgress rebuked the Chick-fil-A Foundation for donating to two Christian groups that support traditional marriage: the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The foundation capitulated and ceased donations.
Over the years, boycotts by those opposed to the company’s Christian leanings, including attempts by elected leaders to block franchise openings, have targeted Chick-fil-A. However, the brand has grown and now has more than 2,500 locations. Only Alaska and Vermont lack a Chick-fil-A franchise, and Texas is home to the most locations: 471 stores, comprising 16% of the company.
Ironically, sales often soared on days a boycott was called, with customers lining up for blocks to buy a breaded chicken sandwich. Like Budweiser, Chick-fil-A had become as American as apple pie, with conservatives voicing their support through their wallets.
However, Chick-fil-A is not invincible to consumer discontent and should brace itself for a protracted battle with Americans looking to save their hard-earned dollars.
Anheuser-Busch is a case in point. Since Bud Light partnered with transgender Dylan Mulvaney, the company’s stock price has plummeted more than 18% in a month. It can take years to recover, if at all.
Similarly, Target is investing in security near its Pride Month displays, while consumer resentment appears to be mounting. This week, JPMorgan downgraded Target’s stock rating to “neutral,” citing growing concerns about the company’s dwindling fortunes. This marks Target’s longest losing streak since 2000.
Disney is also under fire after hiring a man dressed as a “fairy godmother apprentice” to guide girls to a boutique on his property. Disney shares have plummeted.
Chick-fil-A, Bud Light, Target and Disney aren’t the only brands drawing the ire of Americans. Kohl’s has come under fire for marketing children’s clothing emblazoned with “Pride Progress” flags. These companies have become emblematic of a cultural trend that at least half of the United States considers detrimental to the very survival of the nation.
Perhaps June is now the month to spend quality time at home with our families and reconsider funding companies that dismiss our values. After all, we’re hearing more and more that every time you leave the house, it costs you $100. Save money, spend time with your family. And here’s a handy note: You’ll likely need those savings later this year, considering the precarious economic climate the United States finds itself in.
Suzanne Downing is editor of Must Read Alaska.