The first every Chick-fil-A outlet to be established on UK soil is set to close after being targeted by a pro-LGBT group.
Ever since the popular purveyor of fried chicken opened its doors in the city of Reading, gay rights activists have mobbed it with complaints and even urged a boycott.
Now, barely a week after welcoming in its first British customers, the city center mall, The Oracle, has announced that it will not be renewing the company’s lease. “We have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further,” the Oracle said in a statement, according to the BBC, noting that it seeks to “offer an inclusive space where everyone is welcome.”
The officials at The Oracle clearly brushed past the fact that Chick-fil-A has some of the most generous employment opportunities available in catering, including scholarships and management schemes, and retains a staff that is world-renown for going above and beyond in their service. The staff, by all accounts, are seen as some of the friendliest and most welcoming in the entire fast food industry. Chick-fil-A would have been good for Reading.
What Caused the Restaurant to Close?
The chief instigator of the sudden closure was a group named Reading Pride, who believe that the company’s donations to organizations such as The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army is indicative of unforgivable bigotry. And so, canceled they must be. The first batch of specialty waffles had barely been dunked into the fryer when Reading Pride announced a call to arms in the form of a boycott.
“We respect everyone’s freedom to eat where they choose,” they qualified, “however, we ask the LGBT+ community (including its allies) to boycott the chain in Reading.”
But the Chick-fil-A haters didn’t stop there — in a quite bizarre statement, an affiliated LGBT group even suggested that the British government should investigate the chain before allowing them to open up any UK-based restaurants. “Parliament should be questioning businesses like this that work against the values of our amazing country,” UK Pride Organisers’ Network member Stephen Ireland said, according to Christian Institute.
How Chick-fil-A was “allowed to hit the UK high street without openly answering the concerns of the LGBT community,” is unfathomable to them, they said.
Reading Pride confirmed that, despite the news, they would still be holding their “Get the Chick Out” protest on Saturday:
True to its Christian ethos, Chick-fil-A, the third-largest in the USA, has responded graciously to the bad press. “We hope our guests in the U.K. will see that Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on serving great food and hospitality, and does not have a social or political agenda,” a spokesman said prior to the lease being terminated. “We are represented by more than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs, and we welcome everyone.”
Speaking previously to the BBC, Chick-fil-A doubled down on its commitment to diversity and equality in the causes it supports. “Our giving has always focused on youth and education. We have never donated with the purpose of supporting a social or political agenda,” they said. “There are 145,000 people – black, white; gay, straight; Christian, non-Christian – who represent Chick-fil-A.”
But the writing was on the wall. For the simple sin of giving away millions of dollars to worthy causes, the popular eatery has fallen victim to the mob of intolerance and will be forced to shutter its doors to a British people who, sadly, never got the chance to taste and see that it was good.