UK’s first Chick-fil-A is set to close after immense pressure from LGBT rights groups. It’s been open just over a week
Chick-fil-A opened its first UK branch in Reading, Berkshire just last week – but the fast-food restaurant is already set to close after facing sustained pressure from LGBT+ activists.
The fast food chain – which is one of the biggest in the United States – has attracted significant controversy over the years for its donations to anti-LGBT+ organisations.
Campaigners were outraged last week when the chain opened in The Oracle shopping centre in Reading.
However, a spokeswoman for the shopping centre confirmed today that “the right thing to do” is to not extend Chick-fil-A’s lease past its “six-month pilot period”, the BBC reports.
Chick-fil-A branch in Reading had faced sustained criticism from LGBT+ activists.
The decision comes after LGBT+ activists had heaped pressure on the shopping centre over its decision to allow the popular fast-food chain to set up a branch there.
Martin Cooper of Reading Pride has organised a protest tomorrow against the new Chick-fil-A branch. He said that the LGBT+ community needs to take a stand against the corporation.
It is appropriate to protest and let the community know where their money could go.
“The individual franchises may have differing views to the family that own the company, but the profits that are made are used towards anti-LGBT+ activities, including conversion therapies and law making in Uganda, where officials want to ‘kill the gays.’
“Therefore, it is appropriate to protest and let the community know where their money could go.”
When news broke last week that Chick-fil-A had set up in Reading, Berkshire Live reported that locals were “deeply divided”.
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One local, Rebecca Stenlake wrote on Facebook: “You have literally got to be kidding me. You do know just how blatantly homophobic they are? I’m ashamed of all involved in allowing this to happen, honestly. Utterly unacceptable.”
However, others who had eaten at Chick-fil-A in the United States expressed support for the new venture.
The US fast-food chain has a long history of supporting anti-LGBT+ causes.
In 2013, it was reported that the chain’s anti-LGBT+ donations had almost doubled. The Chick-fil-A Foundation donated almost $3 million to an anti-marriage equality organisation in 2011.
In 2012, Chick-fil-A boss Dan Cathy confirmed that the chain is against same-sex marriage. He later said he regretted getting the company entangled in controversy surrounding LGBT+ rights, but said his views had not changed.
“The bottom line is we have a responsibility here to keep the whole of the organisation in mind and it has to take precedence over the personal expression and opinion on social issues,” he said.