For fast-food lovers, Southerners, the religious right, LGBT activists, and pretty much most Americans, it's been pretty difficult to avoid news of the Chick-fil-A controversy. The Atlanta-based company's CEO, Dan Cathy, denounced gay marriage on Biblical Grounds. Both Cathy's statements and the public's reaction have been closely followed (and even joked about: The Huffington Post reports John Stewart's reaction: "[I'm] pretty sure you can’t outlaw a company with perfectly legal business practices because you find their CEO’s views repellant. Not sure which amendment covers that, but it’s probably in the top 1.").
Joking aside, New York Times journalist Kim Severson takes a more sociological approach to the controversy, weighing the cultural signficance of eating at this well-loved Southern chain against the ethics of supporting the company. In her thought-provoking article in the New York Times, Severson writes: "Tradition, whether in food or social issues, is laced throughout daily life in the South."
Should the politics of a restaurant's CEO influence our decisions as consumers? Maybe, maybe not-- it's up to the individual consumer to decide. But after learning of a company's stance on a hot-button issue, is it possible to disentagle the food itself from the politics of the CEO?
A Fast Food Loyalty Rooted in Southern Identity from The New York Times.
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