Muppets Cut Ties With Chick-fil-A to Support Marriage Equality
The Muppets are no longer chowing down on Chick-fil-A's signature waffle fries and chicken sandwiches.
Officials from the Jim Henson Company said they have ended their partnership with the fast-food chain after the company's president Dan Cathy publically denounced same-sex marriage last week.
"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 posted on their official Facebook page.
ABC News reports that the companies struck up a partnership at the beginning of the summer to include Muppet toys in Chick-fil-A's kids' meals between July and August 18.
The Jim Henson Company was named after the creator of the Muppets Jim Henson, who created popular characters Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and many, many more.
Last week, Cathy made national headlines for condemning gay marriage.
Cathy originally said in an interview: "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,'" Cathy said. "And I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."
After the business man was criticized for his statements, he told the Baptist Press that he is "guilty as charged" and is "supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit."
"We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
After Cathy drew the line in the sand, Chick-fil-A officials tried to ease the controversy by posting a statement on the company's Facebook page.
"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. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.
"Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.
"Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."
Chick-fil-A causes a Twitter backlash frenzy
But it seems as though Kermit and the gang aren’t the only ones opposing Chick-fil-A. After Cathy’s remarks, many have taken to social media to criticize Cathy and his chicken sandwich chain, Forbes reported.
The statement, which was only posted on Facebook and no official press release was issued, does not say whether or not the business will stop donating millions to anti-gay groups, however. In 2009, it was reported that the company gave about $2 million to Focus on the Family, Exodus International, Family Research Council and other similar groups.
Some social media users were not satisfied with Chick-fil-A’s statement. Unidentified wags created the Twitter hashtag "#ChickFilGay." Tweets with the hashtag instruct individuals on how to make similar Chick-fil-A sandwiches so those who oppose the company don’t have to purchase food from the restaurant.
"farewell forever #chickfila, yer waffle fries and lil’ nugs can’t mask the bitter taste of your intolerance," Emily Testerman (@little__ghost) tweeted. Tim Staney (@TimStaney) wrote, "Guity as charged. Can’t give my $ to a company that actively supports discrimination and shallow-mindedness. #chickfila#chickfilgay"
Some expressed their feelings about Chick-fil-A on the restaurant’s Facebook page: "I’ll miss the food, but not the bigotry behind it," one person wrote. Forbes notes that there are nearly 15,000 comments since the incident occurred mid-Friday.
Sam-sex couples will make a stand against the company in an organized protest. Several gay and lesbian couples around the country plan to participate in "National Same-Sex Kiss Day" on Aug. 3 in response to the recent controversy, the New York Daily News points out.
Opposers criticize Cathy
When it was reported in March that the company had donated millions to anti-gay groups, students around the country protested the fast-food chain from coming to their campuses. Although Boston’s Northeastern University voted to block Chick-fil-A, officials from New York University allowed the controversial eatery to remain on its campus, which happens to be the only Chick-fil-A in Manhattan.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino seemed to be deeply angered by the company’s anti-gay marriage stance and said that he promises to block the chain from opening a restaurant in Boston.
"Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion," Menino told the Herald. "That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail." EDGE’s editor-in-chief, however, has a different take on the issue. Although Steve Weinstein disagrees with Cathy’s views on marriage equality, he does not think his personal opinions should be the reason why his company is banned from the city.
"I find Cathy as repugnant as the next person," Weinstein wrote in his blog. "But I also do not believe that his personal beliefs are enough to allow a public official to disallow a company from opening in his city. If the franchisee gets the proper permits, pays the rent, and observes local laws -- including no hiring discrimination based on sexual preference or gender identity -- then he or she should have every right to open in Boston."
"The Office" star Ed Helms said that he would boycott Chick-fil-A soon after Cathy went public and denounced gay marriage.
"Chick-fil-A doesn’t like gay people? So lame. Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens! Lost a loyal fan," Helms tweeted.
The conservative right praise the fast-food founder
On the other side, Cathy and his company have a handful of supporters, including the National Organization for Marriage, a group that is determined to ban gay marriage in the country and urges businesses to take a neutral stance on LGBT issues. The organization applauded Cathy for being vocal about his views in a blog post that had the headline "President of Chick-Fil-A Proud to Stand for Biblical and Family Values."
Bryan Fischer, the director of issues analysis for the American Family Association, praised Cathy for his comments in a blog post as well. Fischer argues, however, that Chick-fil-A "is now about to experience the full wrath of the homosexual lobby."
Fischer warns the company’s executives that "the hatemongers in the homosexual movement will now set out to wipe them off the face of the earth. They are about to go all Ahmadinejad on the Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich." He also writes that he expects "the toxic bile of the gay lobby will be focused on getting Chick-fil-A franchises kicked off every college campus in the country. Licensed partners serve Chick-fil-A food at more than 225 locations, many of them college campuses."
Former Republican presidential candidate and talk show host Mike Huckabee also supported Cathy and even called for the creation of a holiday that would celebrate Chick-fil-A, the Wisconsin Gazette reported. The appreciation day would be held on Aug. 1 -- just days before "National Same-Sex Kiss Day."
The politician said on his Facebook that he has become "incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick Fil-A company because the CEO, Dan Cathy, made comments recently in which he affirmed his view that the Biblical view of marriage should be upheld. The Cathy family, let by Chick Fil-A founder Truett Cathy, are a wonderful Christian family who are committed to operating the company with Biblical principles and whose story is the true American success story. Starting at age 46, Truett Cathy built Chick Fil-A into a $4 billion a year enterprise with over 1600 stores. At 91, he is still active in the company, but his son Dan runs it day to day as CEO. It’s a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left."
He also applauded the company for having Christian-based values. Huckabee said he appreciated that the business was closed on Sundays "so that their employees can go to church if they wish. Despite the pressure from malls, airports, and the business world to open on Sundays, they still don’t. They treat customers and employees with respect and dignity."
Chick-fil-A supporters make their voices heard
When the ultra-conservative website Free Republic reported on the story a number of its readers commented and vowed to no longer support the Muppets.
"The Muppets have always been creepy unfunny garbage to me. Let ’em stand with the Queer Nazis," one reader wrote. "Bert and Ernie are pillow biters, Snuffy is a heroin addict, Oscar is OWS, the Count is a pimp, and the Muppet band are all trippin,’" another wrote.
CNN also reported that its users left comments supporting Cathy.
"We shouldn’t be surprised that an organization that sticks to its Christian principles would have issues with gay marriage," one reader says. "We can’t get into this mentality of thinking that everybody who is against gay marriage is homophobic in some way, shape or form," the added.
"I’m gay. I don’t care. If I ceased buying products from companies that did things I didn’t like, then I’d be Amish," another online user wrote. "I don’t make political choices when I eat out (though, for the record, I actually don’t like CFA’s food or any fast food for that matter). I go out to eat to fill my belly."
But those against the evil Muppets can add the Jim Henson Company to a long list of business that support gay marriage, such as Microsoft, Google, Starbucks, Amazon, American Apparel, McDonald’s, Nike, Apple, Best Buy, Gap, Red Lobster, General Mills, J.C. Penney, Target, Wells Fargo, Sears, United Airlines, the Coca-Cola Company, PesiCo, Olive Garden, Levi’s and several more.