Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ record continues to haunt the Atlanta-based restaurant chain. This time, it kept them from being added to a college campus in New Jersey.
But the restaurant claims they have “no policy of discrimination,” despite funding anti-LGBTQ organizations for years now.
Rider University — a private school in Lawrence Township, N.J. — polled students in the spring about what restaurant franchise they want to see added to campus, according to NBC News. The students wanted Chick-fil-A, which is one of the largest fast-food chains by sales in the U.S.
But the school removed the restaurant as an option when they surveyed students again this fall. They said the franchise is “widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community,” according to a statement by President Gregory G. Dell’Omo posted on the school’s website on Nov. 23.
The choices in this situation, like in so many others, were imperfect. They challenged us to reflect on our values and consider what kind of community we want to provide for those who live and learn at Rider University. Ultimately, we decided to lean in the direction of creating a welcoming environment where differences can be appreciated and where each individual can expect to experience dignity and respect.
Chick-fil-A responded to the flap by seeking to “clarify misperceptions about our brand.”
Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality, and our restaurants and licensed locations on college campuses welcome everyone. We have no policy of discrimination against any group, and we do not have a political or social agenda. More than 120,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand.”
The restaurant made this claim despite funding anti-LGBTQ organizations through at least 2017.
Chick-fil-A came under fire in 2011 when IRS filings showed their charitable foundation pumped millions into anti-LGBTQ groups. Company CEO Dan Cathy’s vocal opposition to gay marriage followed. The company later scaled back most of its funding to such groups, but a report last year showed that in 2015 the group donated more than $1.4 million to three anti-LGBTQ groups.
In June, the Peacock Panache combed through the chain’s latest available IRS Form 990 covering 2016 and found that they continue to fund the same three anti-LGBTQ groups they did in 2015.
The restaurant issued a rebuttal to the story, detailing which programs at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army that they funded, according to a statement on their website. FCA uses athletes and coaches to spread an anti-LGBTQ message, bars members from having gay sex and warns their youth away from same-sex marriage. The Salvation Army has a history of anti-LGBTQ housing discrimination among other incidents.
Chick-Fil-A also said they no longer support the Paul Anderson Youth Homes in Vidalia as of June 2017. The facility calls homosexuality an evil that is caused by the abuse of children.