Chick-fil-A Doesn't Rule Out Supporting Anti-Gay Groups After Dropping 3 Charities Following LGBT Backlash

Chick-fil-A said it is unable to rule out donating money to anti-gay charities in the future after confirming it is parting ways with three organizations criticized by the LGBTQ+ community.

In an interview with Bisnow, Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer Tim Tassopoulos said the fast food chain is changing its charitable policy to focus on organizations which provide support for education, homelessness and hunger.

Chick-fil-A said that they have committed to donating $9 million in 2020 to Junior Achievement USA and Covenant House International, as well as $25,000 to local food banks at every new Chick-fil-A opening, as part of their new philanthropic initiative.

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

Under the new scheme, the company will no longer be donating to Christian organizations The Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Paul Anderson Youth Home, all of which have been criticized for their views on homosexuality.

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy also caused controversy in 2012 when he admitted to opposing gay marriage because of his religious beliefs, resulting in major protests and boycotts in the U.S and abroad.

In a follow-up statement to Newsweek, Chick-fil-A said: "Beginning in 2020 the Chick-fil-A Foundation will introduce a more focused giving approach, donating to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of hunger, homelessness and education.

"The intent of charitable giving from the Chick-fil-A Foundation is to nourish the potential in every child."

Tassopoulos added: "No organization will be excluded from future consideration—faith-based or non-faith-based."

Chick-fil-A did not return a request for comment seeking to clarify whether the company might consider giving money to organizations such as FCA or the Salvation Army in future, or whether other religious groups opposed to same-sex relationships might benefit from their their donations.

Following the announcement, LGBTQ+ rights group GLAAD said they were skeptical that Chick-fil-A are fully committed to ending their association with perceived anti-LGBTQ+ organizations or even moving away from its own conservative views.

"If Chick-fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," said Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response.

"Chick-fil-A investors, employees, and customers can greet today's announcement with cautious optimism, but should remember that similar press statements were previously proven to be empty.

"In addition to refraining from financially supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations, Chick-fil-A still lacks policies to ensure safe workplaces for LGBTQ employees and should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents."

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a longtime advocate of Chick-fil-A, accused of the company of betraying their customers by surrendering to "anti-Christian hate groups."

"In Aug 2012, I coordinated a national @ChickfilA Appreciation Day after they were being bullied by militant hate groups," Huckabee tweeted Monday. "Millions showed up. Today, @ChickfilA betrayed loyal customers for $$. I regret believing they would stay true to convictions of founder Truett Cathey. Sad."

In a statement, the Salvation Army said they are "saddened" by the news that Chick-fil-A has dropped its support to focus on other other hunger, education and homelessness organizations. The Christian charity also dismissed claims they are anti-LGBTQ+.

"We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population," the charity added.

"When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk.

"We urge the public to seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment and greatly appreciate those partners and donors who ensure that anyone who needs our help feels safe and comfortable to come through our doors."

The FCA and Paul Anderson Youth Home did not immediately return a request for comment.

The Chick-fil-A at the 'Chick-Fil-A Is Anti-Gay!' PETA and LGBT community protest at Chick-fil-A on August 1, 2012 in Hollywood, California. Chick-fil-A is ending donations to three groups that oppose gay marriage, but has refused to say if it will end further ties to anti-gay groups. Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic/Getty

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