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Chick-Fil-A immersed in image crisis after COO expresses position on homosexuality July 28, 2012

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Chick-Fil-A is in the middle of a major PR crisis after its President and COO Dan Cathy stated what everyone had long guessed – his company doesn’t like homosexuality. Cathy recently told a Baptist publication: “We are very much 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.” This led many to call for boycotts of Chick-Fil-A. Explaining the frustration some have with the restaurant chain, Mark Pettit wrote on The Huffington Post that Chick-Fil-A depends on the public to sustain profits but is alienating a large cross-section of America. As Pettit suggested, Cathy’s comments are now a crisis because “Facebook and Twitter are afire with gay, and gay friendly people, publicly boycotting Chick-fil-A and asking their friends and followers to do the same. In today’s hyper-connected and hyper-sensitive environment, one person quickly turns into one thousand and a comment to a religion reporter becomes fuel to fire the 24-hour mainstream.” Pettit eloquently concluded, “Companies and great brands need to realize that at some point, they become bigger than the CEO. Vision must be separated from views — because it’s all about the voice. What people say and believe is the only thing that matters.”

Chick-Fil-A is not without supporters, though. Social conservatives like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have called on conservatives across the country to flock to the restaurant to stand against “bullies” of Christian beliefs. Huckabee went as far to call for a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.”

For more on the crisis that Chick-Fil-A now faces, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Should CEOs and corporate leaders be free to share their opinions on major political issues? Why, or why not?

2.  Was Cathy’s statement offensive? Why, or why not?

3.  Will Chick-Fil-A be hurt by this current crisis? Why, or why not?

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