Having a hard time keeping up with the wonderful world of fast food politics? Here's a quick roundup of everything you need to choke your chicken (sandwich).
- Back in the day, those of us old enough used to sit around and complain about how religious Chick-fil-A was what with the being closed on Sunday and the women all wearing skirts. The internet hadn't been invented yet though, so obviously nothing was done.
- In 2011, blogger Jeremy Hooper decided he wasn't too chicken to take on the tasty sammies and exposed the fast food restaurant as being run by religious nutjobs who closed their restaurants on Sunday and preferred their women in skirts (but not necessarily barefoot). Why did Hooper cry fowl? The chain donated some of those fried hunks of breaded poultry to an event by an anti-marriage group in Pennsylvania.
- With a little investigative crowd-sourcing, it was quickly revealed that the chain also had a non-profit foundation attached to it that was donating to the National Organization for Marriage and ex-gay groups. (The grand total given as of this writing was about $5 million dollars worth of anti-gay donations.)
- College campuses across the nation erupted as students demanded that the chain be tossed out of food courts and started a grassroots educational campaign about the company's anti-gay donations. Soon there were graphics and fake job postings, and Facebook campaigns. Several franchises got the boot, but other efforts failed miserably.
- As surely as day follows night, the religious right started proclaiming that their followers needed to stuff themselves on artery-clogging fried pieces of meat and pickle. The fast food wars had started.
- Just as the controversy started quieting down except for the occasional attempt by students to ban yet another franchise from yet another campus, chain founder and all around genius, Dan Cathy, gave an interview to the Baptist Press. He doubled down on his anti-gay rhetoric declaring "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'." No one challenged him to point out that God didn't say anything about same-sex marriage, but he was highly in favor of men having multiple wives, a pack of concubines, and the occasional sex slave.
Much much more after the break that you'll want to check out. (You think I pecked this whole thing out for my own amusement?)
- With the furor reaching temperatures so high you could cook waffle fries with it, Gay Inc jumped on the breaded bandwagon. Soon GLAAD was producing Facebook-friendly funny graphics, HRC is protesting outside food trucks, and every smaller group even remotely tangential to queer rights had a petition on Change.org.
- Smelling a chance to gain votes on the backs of poor antibiotic stuffed poultry, politicians quickly joined the fray. The mayors of Chicago and Boston declared they would block expansion by the chain in their cities. A Philly city councilor introduced a resolution to chastise the company.
- Boston's mayor sent a really sternly worded letter to the company headquarters to reiterate his hardline stance. Realizing that his rhetoric is technically illegal, the mayor stepped back from the precipice a few days later and settled for clucking disapprovingly at the anti-gay activities.
- NYC Mayor Michael Bloomburg joined the national conversation stating that while he disliked their politics, he thought it was particularly stupid to decide whether businesses should be allowed in his city based on their political or religious views. He'd obviously read my piece on Bilerico the previous day that ruminated on the same thing.
- Openly lesbian NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn - who's running to be the next mayor - distanced herself from Bloomburg's moderate and reasoned legal analysis to declare that she was starting a campaign to get the chain pitched by NYU (the only store in the city). She started a petition campaign on change.org to reinforce how serious she is about it. Natch.
- DC Mayor Vincent Gray took to Twitter to declare the chain sold "#hatechicken." Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi announced on the social networking site that "For the record, I prefer Kentucky Fried Chicken." No one seems to tell her the chain was started by a Southern Kentucky Colonel born two centuries ago. I'm doubtful he would have favored queer commitment ceremonies either.
- Other celebrities like Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas and conservative political has-beens like Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin quickly joined the fray to tout the tastiness of homophobia.
- The controversy hit the mainstream media with pundits like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and the ladies of The View chattering about the chain's stance and the public outcry.
- Faced with a PR nightmare, Chick-fil-A Vice President of Corporate Public Relations dies of a heart attack. The religious right blames the gays. Gays blame years of eating tasty deep fried chicken sandwiches.
- In a desperate attempt to salvage something from the whole mess, Chick-fil-A get accused of creating fake Facebook accounts to defend themselves by making it appear that average citizens supported their stance. Exposed, the company denied the charge.
- After months of horrible earned media, the company's brand approval ratings sinks to record lows. Instead of being substantially above most fast food chain's approval ratings, the company's score sank 26 points over a ten day period - to lower than the industry average.
My prediction for next week's big news story? Activists realize that Popeye was a height-challenged codependent with anger control issues who treated women like property. I smell a boycott of Louisiana-style nuggets and the spinach industry.