The Jim Henson Company announced on Friday that it was ending its relationship with the Christian restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A, and would no longer be offering The Muppets toys in kids’ meals.
“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 wrote on its Facebook page. “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 [The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation] GLAAD.”
Equality Matters reported earlier this month that the restaurant chain had given over $1.9 million in 2010 alone to groups that oppose marriage equality and other LGBT rights.
During an interview with the Baptist Press, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy insisted the company was “guilty as charged.”
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
About three days later, the company appeared to distance itself from its owner’s comments.
“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,” a statement on Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page said. “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
But some Chick-fil-A fans are already threatening to boycott The Muppets.
“Ok… so any and all Muppet products are now boycotted from this home and everyone I can talk to and into doing the same,” Facebook user Mark Edwards told The Jim Henson Company. “You want to yank your stuff because the Chik something company owners do not support gay marriage.. feel free..”
“Mark Edwards, don’t forget to boycott microsoft, ibm, google, facebook, apple computers… welcome to your own personal stone age,” Joaquín A. Sarite-Pérez replied to Edwards.
“The irony and hypocrisy of the sentiments of those opposing equal marriage + rights is always delicious,” Catticut Palich wrote. “Not concerned by those of you ‘boycotting’ The Muppets now, as you obviously didn’t get Jim Henson’s message when you were growing up – otherwise you wouldn’t be actively trying to oppress another human being.”
Think Progress suggested that this video of The Muppets’ chickens performing “Forget You” might be the appropriate message for the company to send to Chick-fil-A.