“One of our core values at Chick-fil-A, Inc. is that we are better together,” Chick-fil-A wrote of its website on its DEI initiative.
“When we combine our unique backgrounds and experiences with a culture of belonging, we can discover new ways to strengthen the quality of care we deliver: to customers, to the communities we serve and to the world. We understand that getting Better at Together means we learn better, care better, grow better and serve better.”
The announcement immediately sparked conservative backlash on social media.
“Everything good must come to an end,” tweeted Wade Miller, the executive director of the conservative Citizens for Renewing America.
“Here @ChickfilA is stating it’s commitment to systemic racism, sexism, and discrimination.I cannot support such a thing.”
Brandon Morse, the senior editor at the conservative Red State website tweeted: “Chick-fil-A is infected with DEI and it will only be a matter of time before that place falls in every way possible.”
Chick-fil-A’s DEI initiative promotes ensuring equal access to opportunities, valuing differences, and creating a “culture of belonging.
The initiative includes efforts to recruit top-tier talented workers, providing access to educational opportunities, engagement through community groups and fostering diverse supplier partnerships, according to the company’s website.
The company’s DEI initiative and conservative reaction comes in stark contrast to Chick-fil-A’s reputation as the restaurant of choice for those on the right.
The New York Times reports that company faced backlash from progressives in 2012 when Dan T. Cathy, the company’ president and COO, told a Christian news outlet that the company supported “the biblical definition of the family unit,” and in a subsequent radio interview said “As it relates to society in general, 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.’”
A Pennsylvania Chick-fil-A in 2011 contributed food to a marriage seminar held by a group outspoken in its opposition to homosexuality.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2012 joined the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) in an effort to proclaim Aug. 1 as national “Eat at Chick-fil-A” day, the Human Rights Campaign reports.
Georgia College & State University marketing professor told Newsweek that a boycott against Chick-fil-A would be "ironic," noting the brand’s reputation among LGBTQ+ customers.
"It's a company that has a very religious focus, but that focus has never included LGBTQ+ equality as one of its basic tenets," Joanna Schwartz told Newsweek.
"In fact, the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index doesn't even have a rating for the company because they've never participated in those equality studies.
"It's a big change for Chick-fil-A to include gender identity and sexual orientation as part of their view of inclusivity, but even that DEI update doesn't actually use the term 'LGBT' (or any of its variations). Racial, ethnic and gender diversity are all important, but in terms of actual LGBTQ+ inclusivity or any acknowledgment around the community or Pride, [they] have never been part of their marketing efforts."
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