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Anti-LGBT fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A has opened its first UK branch – and people are furious

Emma Powys Maurice October 14, 2019
Chick-fil-A

Chick-Fil-A, an American chicken restaurant with well-documented connections to anti-LGBT+ organisations, has just opened its first UK branch (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty)

Chick-fil-A, the American fast food chain notorious for its funding of anti-LGBT+ organisations, has now opened its first branch in the UK.

Chick-fil-A is the US’s third-largest fast food chain behind McDonald’s and Subway. For years the Baptist-owned company has given millions of dollars to anti-LGBT+ organisations, leading to protests, boycotts, and several new US branches banned from being opened.

The first-ever UK branch opened in Reading’s Oracle Shopping Centre on October 10 and has reportedly divided the Berkshire town.

“You have literally got to be kidding me,” wrote Reading local Rebecca Stenlake on Facebook. “You do know just how blatantly homophobic they are? I’m ashamed of all involved in allowing this to happen, honestly. Utterly unacceptable.”

Protesters outside a Chick-fil-A food truck in a demonstration organised by the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, 2012 (Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty)

“Not a company I would want to support regardless of what their food tastes like,” added Kelley Morrissey. “Shame they are choosing our fabulously diverse town to ‘test’ in!”

“Vile,” agreed Laura BF. “Won’t be eating there sadly until they stop their discriminatory and hate filled policies!”

Jamie Wake wrote: “There are many companies – including in Reading – that have Christian values that I support who are able to trade without discrimination but the difference with this one is that they are open and take pride in it. Hate doesn’t have a place on the high street.”

Other locals disagreed and indicated that they would be supporting the new restaurant. Stuart Heaps wrote: “Buzzing to enjoy a nice chicken sandwich without f**king rainbow flags shoved in my face, can’t wait!!”

Oracle Shopping Centre, Reading, where the new Chick-Fil-A branch has opened. (View Pictures/Universal Images Group/Getty)

“Best chicken ever and a very nice Christian faith believer owning it. Great family values,” said Andrew King.

And several others suggested that the food was so good, the homophobia just didn’t matter. “Couldn’t give a toss what they stand for as long as the food’s alright,” said Simon Lane.

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson told BerkshireLive: “We opened a pilot licensed location at The Oracle Centre of Reading on October 10 and we are pleased by customer response.

“Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on serving great food and hospitality. We are represented  by more than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs and welcome everyone.”

The restaurant’s CEO, Dan Cathy, has openly confirmed that the company is against same-sex marriage. Two years later he said that he regrets voicing the comments but still stands by his statement.

 

More: Anti-LGBT donations, chick-fil-a, Reading UK

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