Entertainment :: Culture

Muppets Cut Ties With Chick-fil-A to Support Marriage Equality

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Jul 25, 2012
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The Muppets are no longer chowing down on Chick-fil-A’s signature waffle fries and chicken sandwiches.

Officials from the Jim Henson Company said they have ended their partnership with the fast-food chain after the company’s president Dan Cathy publically denounced same-sex marriage last week.

"The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," the company posted on their official Facebook page.

ABC News reports that the companies struck up a partnership at the beginning of the summer to include Muppet toys in Chick-fil-A’s kids’ meals between July and August 18.

The Jim Henson Company was named after the creator of the Muppets Jim Henson, who created popular characters Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and many, many more.

Last week, Cathy made national headlines for condemning gay marriage.
Cathy originally said in an interview: "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,’" Cathy said. "And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."

After the business man was criticized for his statements, he told the Baptist Press that he is "guilty as charged" and is "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."

After Cathy drew the line in the sand, Chick-fil-A officials tried to ease the controversy by posting a statement on the company’s Facebook page.

"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

"Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.

"Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."


Chick-fil-A causes a Twitter backlash frenzy

But it seems as though Kermit and the gang aren’t the only ones opposing Chick-fil-A. After Cathy’s remarks, many have taken to social media to criticize Cathy and his chicken sandwich chain, Forbes reported.

The statement, which was only posted on Facebook and no official press release was issued, does not say whether or not the business will stop donating millions to anti-gay groups, however. In 2009, it was reported that the company gave about $2 million to Focus on the Family, Exodus International, Family Research Council and other similar groups.

Some social media users were not satisfied with Chick-fil-A’s statement. Unidentified wags created the Twitter hashtag "#ChickFilGay." Tweets with the hashtag instruct individuals on how to make similar Chick-fil-A sandwiches so those who oppose the company don’t have to purchase food from the restaurant.

"farewell forever #chickfila, yer waffle fries and lil’ nugs can’t mask the bitter taste of your intolerance," Emily Testerman (@little__ghost) tweeted. Tim Staney (@TimStaney) wrote, "Guity as charged. Can’t give my $ to a company that actively supports discrimination and shallow-mindedness. #chickfila#chickfilgay"

Some expressed their feelings about Chick-fil-A on the restaurant’s Facebook page: "I’ll miss the food, but not the bigotry behind it," one person wrote. Forbes notes that there are nearly 15,000 comments since the incident occurred mid-Friday.

Sam-sex couples will make a stand against the company in an organized protest. Several gay and lesbian couples around the country plan to participate in "National Same-Sex Kiss Day" on Aug. 3 in response to the recent controversy, the New York Daily News points out.


Opposers criticize Cathy

When it was reported in March that the company had donated millions to anti-gay groups, students around the country protested the fast-food chain from coming to their campuses. Although Boston’s Northeastern University voted to block Chick-fil-A, officials from New York University allowed the controversial eatery to remain on its campus, which happens to be the only Chick-fil-A in Manhattan.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino seemed to be deeply angered by the company’s anti-gay marriage stance and said that he promises to block the chain from opening a restaurant in Boston.

"Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion," Menino told the Herald. "That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail." EDGE’s editor-in-chief, however, has a different take on the issue. Although Steve Weinstein disagrees with Cathy’s views on marriage equality, he does not think his personal opinions should be the reason why his company is banned from the city.

"I find Cathy as repugnant as the next person," Weinstein wrote in his blog. "But I also do not believe that his personal beliefs are enough to allow a public official to disallow a company from opening in his city. If the franchisee gets the proper permits, pays the rent, and observes local laws -- including no hiring discrimination based on sexual preference or gender identity -- then he or she should have every right to open in Boston."

"The Office" star Ed Helms said that he would boycott Chick-fil-A soon after Cathy went public and denounced gay marriage.

"Chick-fil-A doesn’t like gay people? So lame. Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens! Lost a loyal fan," Helms tweeted.



Comments

  • Anonymous, 2012-07-25 08:32:56

    I can’t tell you how many times I went for Chik-fil-a and they asked me about my sexual orientation before they would serve me. Wait they never have! Why all the hate towards a company that supports traditional marriage. That doesn’t mean they hate gays. I support women’s right, but that doesn’t mean I hate men.


  • Anonymous, 2012-07-25 14:27:11

    While I agree with the right to have one’s own opinion. I also agree in your right to post stupid comments. It is in my opinion stupid or not that I choose and have for many years not to eat at a place that will use the money I pay for their crappy food against me. I worked at a place with some guys going to a bible college. One time we spoke about it they told me "they know the truth, god has told them. The guys were like 19 and 20. I told them kids you don’t know sh*t. Just what you were told believe. To many people are so eager to believe in something, they’ll believe in anything.


  • Anonymous, 2012-07-25 16:33:00

    Amen. There are enough choices available and people willing to take your money who don’t think you’re an abominable snow man. Give it to them for Christ’s sake.


  • Anonymous, 2012-07-25 19:15:35

    Thanks Kermit! Thanks Piggy! I’m with you. I wouldn’t eat that Chik-fil-a crap either.


  • Anonymous, 2012-07-26 15:25:05

    Seems like the Jim Henson Company didn’t do its due diligence before making the original deal. While not headline material, the far-right religious views of Chik-Fil-A’s management and controlling shareholders was scarcely a secret.


  • James Oakes, 2012-07-26 19:31:18

    I’m with Kermit & Miss Piggy......no more Chick-fil-a for me.


  • Jonathan Willner, 2012-07-27 14:46:10

    Dan Cathy and ChickFilA have a right to their opinions, Jim Henson Company has a right to choose who to do business with, and everyone has a right to choose where to eat, or not to eat, for any reason. Frankly, I wouldn’t eat at ChickFilA if fags and dykes were dancing in the kitchen and fabulous drag queens were serving customers. OK, I might go in just to look. But that’s just me.


  • Dennis Smith, 2012-08-03 20:30:15

    I’m with you Jim Henson Company!


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