Chick–fil–A, the popular chicken sandwich chain whose values are closely intertwined with its conservative base, is facing calls for a boycott after announcing the appointment of an executive in charge of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the company.
The Atlanta–based chain hired Erick McReynolds to the post of vice president of DEI two years ago, but the news has only now become public, sparking outrage among conservatives who feel the company has “gone woke.”
McReynolds has been employed by Chick–fil–A since 2007, but only recently got the promotion to vice president in November 2021. The Internet erupted with criticism when news of the hire made it onto social media.
Conservative strategist Joey Mannarino tweeted an informal poll asking his 166,000 followers if they should launch a boycott against the company. As of late Tuesday afternoon, slightly more than 47% of respondents voted in favor of a boycott.
Corporate America’s adoption of DEI has been viewed with suspicion by conservative groups who claim that they discriminate based on race and gender. Chick–fil–A responded by saying in a statement that the company was “committed to being better together” and that their core value of inclusivity means “we discover new ways to strengthen the quality of care we deliver: to customers, to the communities we serve, and to the world.”
McReynolds himself was quoted in the statement, saying he was “committed to ensuring mutual respect, understanding, and dignity everywhere we do business.”
The news comes at a time when LGBTQ controversies have been stirring up issues around corporate behavior. Brands such as Bud Light, Target, and Kohl’s have come under scrutiny for their marketing and employment practices, and have fired those they deem to be discriminatory.
Chick–fil–A, which operates nearly 3,000 restaurants mostly in the lower 48 states and Puerto Rico, has made efforts recently to moderate its politics so that it can expand its appeal beyond core supporters and consumers. Last year, the company ended its donations to groups that opposed same–sex marriage.
For now, whether the boycott calls will have an effect on the company’s bottom line is yet to be seen. But many of their long–standing supporters feel betrayed and don’t look willing to do business with them for the time being.
Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathy goes full woke and says that every white person should get on their knees and shine black people's shoes with a "sense of shame, a sense of embarrassment" for racial injustice. pic.twitter.com/wtpd6wJb8J
— Catch Up (@CatchUpFeed) May 31, 2023