Chick-fil-A has pledged to finally stop funding anti-LGBTQ organizations after years of protests against the brand.
The popular fast-food chain's foundation has donated millions of dollars to groups such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army. Both organizations have long histories of being anti-LGBTQ and will now allegedly no longer receive money from the company.
"We made multiyear commitments to both organizations and we fulfilled those obligations in 2018," a Chick-fil-A spokeswoman said Monday, according to CNBC. The company says it will now be focusing on three pillars of giving, involving education, homelessness, and hunger.
The company has faced criticism in the past for its charitable donations as well as the CEO Dan Cathy's public comments opposing marriage equality. And as Chick-fil-A has recently attempted to expand outside the U.S., activists have put pressure on the company and forced quick closures of some locations.
"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos said in an interview with Bisnow Monday. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."
Chick-fil-A has famously promised in the past that it would cease donations to anti-LGBTQ groups after a 2012 controversy involving anti-LGBTQ comments; however, it kept donating. Considering this history, some activists urged "cautious optimism" in light of the new pledge.
"Chick-Fil-A investors, employees, and customers can greet today's announcement with cautious optimism, but should remember that similar press statements were previously proven to be empty," said Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of Campaigns and Rapid Response. "In addition to refraining from financially supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations, Chick-Fil-A still lacks policies to ensure safe workplaces for LGBTQ employees and should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents."