Back in July of 2012, Chick-Fil-A’s company president and COO, Dan Cathy, made public comments opposing gay rights. Since day one, the company has vocalized its biblical views, but when Cathy spoke about supporting only traditional marriage on a religious radio station, the tape went viral and caused an uproar on social media. Customers were irate over what they heard and took to the internet to lash out. There were nasty Facebook comments left and hashtags trending dissing the company.
After the story came out, the company released a statement that said, “The Chik-fil-A culture is to treat every person with honor, dignity, and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” However, many gay-activists worldwide did not find the statement very sincere. As the online attacks become harsher, Chik-Fil-A started using fake profiles online to share positive thoughts about their company. When this was discovered, more problems emerged.
As society become more mad, supporters of gay rights began to hold “kiss ins” at Chik-Fil-A’s acrossed the nation. The company then decided to try a new approach to the situation and stopped making comments about their views. After the scandal had started to blow over, the company stopped funding anti-gay organizations and created a new recipe in order to “re-band” themselves.
I believe that the company’s first mistake was announcing their views at all. I think that it is important for growing companies to realize there is an image to protect and just because a CEO feels a certain way does not mean it should be represented by the company. By staying mutual over heated topics, businesses avoid angry opinions from either side.
Today, Chick-Fil-A has successfully maintained their business, however many people have yet to forget about their scandal. I think that if the business remains out of the limelight and avoids discussing politics, they will be able to overcome this crisis for good.