Chick-fil-A is navigating choppy waters on social media as conservative patrons unearth a suite of diversity initiatives sponsored by its headquarters. This revelation arrives on the heels of brands like Bud Light and Target feeling the heat for promoting progressive ideologies.
The traditionally conservative and Christian-valued fast food joint, Chick-fil-A, drew attention when it was discovered that Erick Reynolds was appointed Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion two years ago. Notably, the company champions a slew of diversity programs, specifically tailored to women and racial minorities, on its website, a fact that gained traction following recent blows to Target and Bud Light's market performance.
Flashback to three years ago when Chick-fil-A's Chairman, Dan Cathy, called on Americans to take a stance against racism by shining their friends' and neighbors' shoes. A clip featuring Cathy, who is white, polishing the shoes of Black Christian rapper Lecrae, advocating for "a sense of shame, a sense of embarrassment" also made rounds on social media this week.
In addition to joining forces with various diverse professional development organizations, such as the Women’s Foodservice Forum, the National Black MBA Association, and Association of Latino Professionals of America, Chick-fil-A hosts community groups like Women in Business, the Black Employee Resource Group, and the Chick-fil-A Green Team. The company also promotes mentorship and development opportunities for minority-owned businesses to engage more actively with their supply chain.
Chick-fil-A's employment nondiscrimination statement encompasses sexual orientation, gender identity, and "gender expression" along with race, sex, religion, and veteran status.
In a recent sustainability report, Chick-fil-A reflected on "top ESG issues" expected to escalate in importance over the next five years, including climate and energy stewardship and diversity. The company acknowledged the growing societal expectations for corporations like theirs to address intricate social and environmental challenges, the Daily Wire reported.
Another sustainability report reinforced Chick-fil-A's commitment to diversity, highlighting a steering committee dedicated to providing insights for DEI initiatives and aiming to embed diversity into the very fabric of their culture.
Detractors of the ESG and DEI movements argue that these initiatives put the spotlight on political and social causes like reducing carbon emissions or diversifying company leadership, diverting focus from profits and leveraging corporate influence to drive leftist agendas.
Chick-fil-A, a private entity, faced criticism four years back when its charitable foundation ceased donations to several Christian organizations labeled as "anti-LGBTQ groups," such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army.