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Chick-fil-A's DEI Initiative Causes Right-Wingers to Completely Lose It

Chick-fil-A's DEI Initiative Causes Right-Wingers to Completely Lose It

Chick-fil-A sandwiches

The company, notorious for anti-LGBTQ+ actions, has had a diversity, equity, and inclusion program for several years, but it's getting noticed now.

Conservatives are losing it over the rather old news that Chick-fil-A has a diversity, equity, and inclusion program with a high-ranking executive in charge.

The fast-food company is notorious in the LGBTQ+ community for its donations, through its foundation, to homophobic and transphobic groups and for anti-LGBTQ+ statements made by its leaders. But now right-wingers, who have historically supported Chick-fil-A, are outraged over the mere existence of the DEI initiative. They’re accusing the company of going “woke,” which has become their catch-all word to describe everything they oppose.

“Chick-fil-A is infected with DEI and it will only be a matter of time before that place falls in every way possible,” Brandon Morse, who works for conservative website RedState, wrote on Twitter. He also claimed DEI is rooted in Marxism and leads to judging people on race and gender rather than merit.

“Everything good must come to an end,” said a tweet from Wade Miller, executive director of Citizens for Renewing America, a right-wing group. “Here @ChickfilA is stating it’s commitment to systemic racism, sexism, and discrimination. I cannot support such a thing.”

But Chick-fil-A’s DEI program is not new. It’s under the purview of Erick McReynolds, who has been vice president for DEI since 2021 and was executive director of the program before that, beginning in 2020, according to his LinkedIn page. He had been with the company for several years previously.

“It’s unclear why news of Chick-fil-A’s previous DEI initiatives took off on social media Tuesday, though it may possibly be due to several viral posts,” the Nexstar news service reports.

For instance, a 2020 video of longtime Chick-fil-A executive Dan Cathy, son of founder Truett Cathy, speaking against racism and shining a Black man’s shoes, has resurfaced on some sites. And Florida’s Pensacola News Journalnotes that Chick-fil-A has “quietly added” a DEI page to its website but didn’t say how long it has been there. The Advocate has sought comment from Chick-fil-A, including a question about whether the DEI program is LGBTQ-inclusive, but has yet to receive a response.

The DEI page mentions that Chick-fil-A has recruited employees by collaborating with “various national diverse professional development organizations,” including those that focus on women, African Americans, and Latinx people. It notes efforts to diversify suppliers as well.

“Chick-fil-A restaurants have long been recognized as a place where people know they will be treated well,” says a quote from McReynolds on the page. “Modeling care for others starts in the restaurant, and we are committed to ensuring mutual respect, understanding and dignity everywhere we do business. These tenets are good business practice and crucial to fulfilling our Corporate Purpose.”

Chick-fil-A, which bills itself as rooted in Christian principles, has been known for donations to charitable groups with anti-LGBTQ+ views, such as the Paul Anderson Youth Home, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Salvation Army (the latter says it doesn’t discriminate, but it has a problematic history). Also, Dan Cathy made anti-marriage equality comments back in 2012. These factors led some cities and colleges to say Chick-fil-A is not welcome.

In 2019, it sent mixed signals about future donations. Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos said then that the company's foundation had fulfilled multiyear commitments to the FCA and the Salvation Army, and he said none of the charities under consideration had anti-LGBTQ+ policies. Then he backtracked a bit, saying, “No organization will be excluded from future consideration — faith-based or non-faith-based,” without addressing if an organization’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights would be a concern.

Also that year, the Human Rights Campaign pointed out that Chick-fil-A did not have an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policy. The Advocate has requested an update from HRC.

The video of Cathy was made during a discussion of racism at Passion City Church in Atlanta, the city where Chick-fil-A is based, in June 2020, the New York Postreports. At the time, there were numerous protests in Atlanta and elsewhere over the deaths of Rayshard Brooks in that city and George Floyd in Minneapolis, both at the hands of police.

“We’ve had a dozen Chick-fil-A restaurants that have been vandalized in the past week, but my plea would be for the white people, rather than point fingers at that kind of criminal effort, would be to see the level of frustration and exasperation and almost the sense of hopelessness that exists among some of those activists within the African American community,” Cathy said. He then said white people should shine the shoes of Black people — reversing roles that were once common — bent down to shine the shoes of another participant, Black Christian rapper Lecrae Moore.

Chick-Fil-A CEO: White People Should Shine Blacks’ Shoes to Show ‘Sense of Shame,’ for

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