Embattled Mayor Bill de Blasio Takes Aim at Chick-fil-A
When Chick-fil-A announced that it would be opening its third New York location in Queens this fall, many city officials -- including Mayor Bill de Blasio -- recoiled in horror. The mayor is thus urging New Yorkers to avoid eating at the offensive new restaurants, although he does grudgingly acknowledge that they have a right to exist.
"What the ownership of Chick-fil-A has said is wrong," the mayor told reporters on Tuesday. "I'm certainly not going to patronize them and I wouldn't urge any other New Yorker to patronize them. But they do have a legal right."
Via Grub Street:
The Queens location is still months from opening, but Councilman Danny Dromm, who's gay, says it's nevertheless time to boycott. Dromm held a completely unrelated press event of his own yesterday criticizing Chick-fil-A for "forcing their employees and volunteers to adhere to a policy that prohibits same-sex love," and for funding anti-LGBT organizations. "It is outrageous that Chick-fil-A is quietly spreading its message of hate by funding these types of organizations," he said.
Yes, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy publicly voiced support for “the biblical definition of the family unit” in 2012 and years ago donated millions to conservative organizations that opposed same-sex marriage -- but to say that he forces employees and volunteers to adhere to anti-gay policies is just bizarre and completely unsupported.
Chick-fil-A has in fact gone a long way in recent years to make amends with the LGBT community:
Chick-fil-A's socially conservative agenda, which formally led the company to donate millions to charitable groups opposed to gay marriage, has been tempered. This, just as the company aims to quickly expand into Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Southern hospitality must give way to urban reality as the 1,800 store chain moves to compete with big city success stories like McDonald's, Panera Bread and Chipotle.
If nothing else, Cathy has listened. In 2012, Cathy not only heard from some unhappy consumers about his comments against gay marriage, but also from some store operators and employees. Now, he says, "I'm going to leave it to politicians and others to discuss social issues."
That's precisely what experts are advising. "He should put this as far behind him as fast as he possibly can," says Gary Stibel, CEO of New England Consulting Group.
One past critic has even become an unlikely fan. "Dan and I have an ongoing friendship," says Shane Windmeyer, executive director of the gay rights advocacy group Campus Pride. "I am appreciative for the common ground we have established in treating all people with dignity and respect — including LGBT people."
"The dirty little secret," according to "agnostic queer" Samantha Allen, is that most LGBT people love Chick-fil-A. In a piece published in the Daily Beast last fall, Allen urged gays to forgive and forget Chick-fil-A's "anti-gay" past and move on, because the company has. Those who keep flogging the issue, she wrote, risk being seen "as censorious, religious-freedom denying, anti-Christian bigots."