After some conservatives called for a boycott of Chick-fil-A this week for going “woke” by hiring a vice president to handle diversity, equity, and inclusion at the fast food chain, Fox News attacked Chick-fil-A’s CEO Dan Cathy for opposing racism.
Fox News dug up a video from June 2020 showing Cathy talking about a “young man” – who was possibly white – shining the shoes of an older Black man at a revival because the younger man was “so gripped with conviction about the racism that was in that local community in a small town in Texas.”
The controversial anti-LGBTQ preacher has previously compared American civil rights laws to Nazi Germany, counseled Kanye West, and served as part of an evangelical back channel to Russia during the Trump administration.
Cathy then pulled out a brush and started to brush the shoes of a Black man who was on stage with him.
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“Any expressions of a contrite heart begins with an apologetic heart,” he said. “I think that’s what our world needs to hear today.”
Fox News, after showing that clip, went back to host Harris Faulkner and showed the chyron “DAN CATHY: WHITE PEOPLE MUST REPENT FOR RACISM” and a graphic that said “War on Woke” on screen.
“There’s pandering that goes on that I think is more offensive than anything else,” said guest and radio host Jason Rantz. “On the one hand, I don’t like the idea that we’re looking for things to be offended by on the right. But on the other hand, that is the exact kind of nonsense we have to push back against.”
Rightwing podcaster Benny Johnson questioned Cathy’s Christianity, calling Chick-fil-A “the biggest fraud ever pulled on American Christians, that this is some type of Christian company. Shame on them.”
“Dan Cathy, who is the CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, during the height of BLM, had the audacity to get on a church stage, get on stage at a church, one of these woke churches, one of these woke churches, that teaches that Jesus was tolerant,” Johnson said. “Let me tell you what, go read your Gospels. Let me tell you someone who wasn’t tolerant: Christ. Tolerance is not a Christian virtue.”
“Dan Cathy, with his woke Christian mind virus, got on stage, got on his knees, and began to shame all white people,” he concluded.
Benny Johnson: “Go read your Gospels. Let me tell you someone who wasn’t tolerant – Christ. Tolerance is not a Christian virtue” pic.twitter.com/DrpYb4KLCD
— Jason S. Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) May 31, 2023
Earlier this week, conservatives attacked Chick-fil-A for hiring a vice president of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Erick McReynolds.
“This is bad. Very bad. I don’t want to have to boycott. Are we going to have to boycott?” said conservative strategist Joey Mannarino. “It’s only a matter of time until they start putting tr***y semen in the frosted lemonade at this point.”
McReynolds was hired in 2021, and the role existed prior to his hiring as well. It’s unclear why the story is resurfacing online.
Chick-fil-A became a cause célèbre for Christian conservatives in the 2010s. Ever since the chain faced criticism in 2012 for its donations to extreme anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, Evangelicals have flocked to the restaurant to show their support for its conservative values. So any criticism of the fast food chain can be perceived as an attack on conservative Christians themselves.
After Chick-fil-A was first caught donating to extremist groups that promote, among other things, conversion therapy, Cathy said that the company was “guilty as charged” because they want to promote “the biblical definition of the family unit.”
Chick-fil-A later walked back that support and said that they would stop funding organizations with “political agendas.”
Years later, they were again caught donating to groups that oppose LGBTQ+ equality, and the chain again promised to stop donating to them. But a report in 2021 showed that Cathy – one of the heirs to the Chick-fil-A fortune with an estimated net worth of $8 billion – was giving money to organizations working to pass anti-trans laws in dozens of states and blocking the Equality Act in Congress.
Conservative support for Chick-fil-A went so deep that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed what was informally called the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill in 2019, which was meant to protect businesses from “adverse actions” because of the businesses’ “religious beliefs” or “moral convictions.” Abbott surrounded himself with Chick-fil-A food while signing the law.