Get the cluck out: Gay rights group claims victory as UK’s first Chick-Fil-A shut down
Just days after the restaurant started dishing out chicken sandwiches and waffle fries from The Oracle shopping center in Reading, management of the center announced on Saturday that Chick-Fil-A’s six-month lease at the mall would not be extended, saying that expelling the chain was “the right thing to do.”
The restaurant had been picketed by protesters, not for its fattening fast food, but for its American owners’ supposed anti-LGBT views. Gay rights group Reading Pride had led a protest campaign against Chick-Fil-A and were joined by local Labour Party councillors in calling for an end to “bigotry and hatred on your high street.”
The whole UK Pride Organisers Network have a clear message to @ChickfilA and that is “You are not welcome anywhere in the UK and we will stand up, like we did today quite rightly telling you to Cluck Off if we see you again” #GetTheChickOut@Reading_Pride we all stand with you! pic.twitter.com/FOq6e1oGmU— UK Pride Network (@UKPrideNetwork) October 19, 2019
Though Reading Pride stated “we respect everyone’s freedom to eat wherever they choose,” the group nonetheless celebrated The Oracle’s decision not to extend Chick-Fil-A’s lease.
This Saturday in #rdguk we will be peacefully protesting @ChickfilA outside the broad street @OracleReading entrance from 11am.Meeting at 10am @theblagrave for debrief and breakfast.Say NO to bigotry and hatred on your high street#GetTheChickOut#LoveUnites#ReadingPridepic.twitter.com/ob5B0A7PBu— Reading Pride UK (@Reading_Pride) October 17, 2019
A spokesman for the restaurant stated that the six-month lease was always intended to be temporary, as the company looks to expand internationally.
Though relatively unknown in the UK, Chick-Fil-A is an iconic American institution. Founded in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1967, the company operates more than 2,300 restaurants in 47 states. It has been voted America’s favorite restaurant chain for the last four years in a row, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
The management’s religious beliefs, however, have proven controversial. Founded by a devout Southern Baptist, S. Truett Cathy, Chick-Fil-A doesn’t open on Sundays or Christian holidays, and includes a pledge to "to glorify God” in its corporate mission statement.
The company has donated millions of dollars to Christian charities that oppose same-sex marriage and CEO Dan Cathy sparked a boycott in 2012 when he publicly stated his support for the “biblical definition of the family unit.” Cathy also claimed that gay marriage was "inviting God's judgment on our nation.”Also on rt.com Chick-fil-A sales have more than doubled since LGBT boycott began
With liberals fuming, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey even apologized for eating Chick-Fil-A last year. However, despite the boycott campaign, Click-Fil-A’s annual sales have more than doubled since 2012.
Gay protesters in Reading have claimed victory, but vowed to continue their demonstrations outside the restaurant over the next six months. Meanwhile, the campaign has drawn the ire of some commentators, with some suggesting the critics could simply "just not eat there."
Chick-fil-A opened its first UK restaurant eight days ago.And already it’s been announced that it’ll be closing once its 6 month pilot is over all bcos of unfounded outrage!So for the next 6months I’ll to do my best to eat at this @ChickfilA in Reading https://t.co/C60WQysB8M— Obianuju Ekeocha (@obianuju) October 19, 2019
This is so stupid, Chic fil A is amazing and it would be great to have more locations in the UK. I mean, if you don't agree with the owners opinions you could, I don't know....just not eat there?— David Gajeske (@Gajeske) October 19, 2019