Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy’s confirmation that the restaurant chain does indeed support anti-gay organizations with donations is getting them quite a bit of flack online, including one major company pullout.
The Jim Henson Company announced July 20 on its Facebook page that they would be severing ties with Chick-Fil-A on any future endeavors:
“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. Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD.”
According to "Muppets" fan site ToughPigs.com, Henson Co. had partnered with Chick-Fil- to feature Jim Henson's Creature Shop toys -- "essentially a plastic tube with cut-out features for customizing your own puppet" -- in their kid's meals from mid-July until August 18th.
Reaction has been predictably mixed on the company’s Facebook page (quotes intended are replies to individual Facebook posts on the Jim Henson Company page):
“Way to go on dumping Chick Fil-. Jim Henson characters have long shown love and acceptance for all!” ~John Wood
“I'm so happy that this wonderful part of my childhood has continued to entertain, amaze, awe, and inspire me to this day. Thank you for your very strong stance against Chik-Fil-A.” ~Briana Slate
“Stupid, Stupid business move! To make THE MUPPETS.....THE MUPPETS....a political tool??? While I am certain that your father would have held the same viewpoint, (a viewpoint I share, believe it or not). The Henson Company has made a dumb business move. I support your PERSONAL political stance, but this is a STUPID move! THE MUPPETS SHOULD NEVER BE INVOLVED IN POLITICS!!! SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!!!” ~Doyle Maston
“Have you been reading the comments on this page?” ~Melissa John
“Chik-fil-A made it political. Henson Co. is making the perfectly reasonable choice to disassociate themselves from the politics of hatred. It's not just political, it's moral, and the Muppets are not just a business, they are a standard which Chik-fil-A has failed to meet.” ~Tim Miller
“Good bye!! Do not need your relationship with Chick-fil-A.. So very proud of them for standing their ground on what they believe... So long Muppets.. Hope your proud of what your teaching young minds.” ~Tim Coleman, Memphis, TN
“Teaching them love and acceptance! Yes that's something to be very proud of!” ~John Elder
“It is not easy being green.Thank you for supporting equal marriage and for not supporting companies that try to keep rights away from couples.” ~Bert van Hoeijen, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Jim Henson Company’s decision is not the only public reaction to the statement from Cathy, confirming Chick-Fil-A’s stance. The Hangover and The Office actor Ed Helms tweeted that the chain had “lost a loyal fam” and Boston mayor Thomas Menino has vowed to not allow the corporation to open any restaurants in Boston.
In reaction, former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has sent out a mass e-mail in support of Chick-Fil-A:
“Dear Friend, I have been incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick Fil-A company because the CEO, Dan Cathy, made comments recently in which he affirmed his view that the Biblical view of marriage should be upheld. The Cathy family, let by Chick Fil-A founder Truett Cathy, are a wonderful Christian family who are committed to operating the company with Biblical principles and whose story is the true American success story. Starting at age 46 Truett Cathy built Chick Fil-A into a $4 billion a year enterprise with over 1600 stores. At 91, he is still active in the company, but his son Dan runs it day to day as CEO. It's a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left."”
Huckabee has declared August 1 “Chick-Fil-A appreciation day”, which falls just two days before the planned National Same-Sex Kiss Day protest on August 3 set to take places at Chick-Fil-A restaurants across the United States.
Chick-Fil-A has only released one statement since Dan Cathy’s confirmation, which states to “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena” and refrain from “proactively being engaged in the dialogue” on the subject.
BY MATT JAMIESON – STAFF WRITER
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