UPDATE (04/2/2019): Another airport within Niagara Frontier Transport Authority has announced that it will be shelving any plans to open a Chick-fil-A. The Cheektowaga airport now joins one other New York location and the San Antonio International Airport in this decision.
The fast-food chain Chick-fil-A has recently come under fire over tax returns revealing that the company, whose CEO, Dan Cathy, is openly antigay, has continued to donate money to anti-LGBTQ organizations in spite of pushback and boycotts. Now the Buffalo Niagara International Airport has pulled out of installing a Chick-fil-A in its food court, a decision that took into consideration the fact that the airport runs on public funding, according to ThinkProgress.
“A publicly financed facility like the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is not the appropriate venue for a Chick-fil-A restaurant,” New York Democratic Assemblyman Sean Ryan urged last week.
When the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority approved a preliminary agreement with Chick-fil-A, Ryan spoke up saying he was “disappointed” by the decision.
He took to Twitter to urge the NFTA to “reverse this decision and identify a different restaurant to operate at the airport.”
“I don’t believe the leadership of the NFTA intends to help spread hate and discrimination, but allowing a corporation like Chick-fil-A to do business at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport will help to fund continued divisive anti-LGBTQ rhetoric,” Ryan posted on Twitter ahead of the NFTA’s reversal of its decision to install a Chick-fil-A. “New York is a welcoming state that celebrates diversity. The views of Chick-fil-A do not represent our state or the Western New York community, and businesses that support discrimination have no place operating in taxpayer-funded public facilities.”
The NFTA later released a statement in response to Ryan’s concerns:
“First and foremost, the NFTA is an organization that prides itself on its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and stand firmly against any form of discrimination. We have the (utmost) respect for Assemblyman Ryan and consider him a great partner and friend to us. We will reach out to him and discuss his concerns.”
— Assemblyman Sean Ryan (@SeanMRyan149) March 29, 2019
Responding to revelations that Chick-fil-A continued to donate to anti-LGBTQ organizations after it tried to make over its image in light of boycotts over Cathy’s anti-equality statements in 2012, the company asserted that the media was painting “an inaccurate narrative about our brand.”
But there’s no glossing over Think Progress’s findings that Chick-fil-A's charitable arm gave $1.8 million to three anti-LGBTQ organizations in 2017, including the Salvation Army. It also donated to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which enforces a "sexual purity" policy that bars "homosexual acts." Finally, it donated to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, which provides housing for troubled youth and "teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong" and that same-sex marriage is a "rage against Jesus Christ and his values."
Plans to build a Chick-fil-A at the airport in San Antonio were dropped just days after news broke of the company's anti-LGBTQ donations.