The editor of DCist, a blog covering DC happenings, including food news, heralded the anti-gay fried-chick chain’s arrival in our nation’s capital with a glorious tweet.
In the blog post, he cheekily notes that the Christian-oriented place will be closed on Sundays but fails to note that Chick-fil-A donates money, from proceeds it earns Monday to Saturday, to causes that actively fight for the disenfranchisement of gay people.
After prominent DC restauranteurs gave Austermuhle a Twitter–lashing for heralding the arrival of an anti-gay food chain, he decided to pen a lengthy post on the matter, titled “An Editorial Aside: The Great Chick-Fil-A Controversy of 2012.”
Austermuhle tries to play the victim here: he says he was “surprised” and blindsided by the huge negative reaction, although DCist’s sister blog Gothamist has amply covered the wide-spread hate of the company, labeling Chick-fil-A as “homophobic” in headlines.
He should have known better, especially when he claims to be a “staunch supporter of gay rights and equality.” He does himself one worse when he “throws us a bone,” after getting called out:
As a 10-year D.C. resident and staunch supporter of gay rights and equality, they certainly rub me the wrong way. But that doesn’t mean that Chick-fil-A’s food truck isn’t news—for its food. (Good news or bad? We report, you decide.) Gold may have had a point that more information on the restaurant’s charitable contributions could make people think twice about whether to eat there. That’s why I didn’t shy away from including one of his tweets on the issue in the original post and dedicating the time to exploring the issue further today. So here you have it—Chick-fil-A gives money to conservative groups that have long fought gay rights.
Yes, of course, report the news, but he should’ve known that Chick-fil-A was homophobic in the first place, and included that fact in the original post. He should’ve have needed the tongue-lashing to do so, and his playing the victim now is just an annoying way of showing his ignorance of Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay donations till internet commenters pointed it out to him.
He also tries to downplay the donations. To be clear, Chick-fil-A is also not donating to your run-of-the-mill “conservative groups” who champion issues other than anti-gay-rights causes—they donate to known hate groups like Focus on the Family and Exodus International, whose sole focus is, respectively, fighting gay marriage and pushing ex-gay reparative therapy.
This all gets us to thinking, ourselves. Perhaps the solution to the Great Chick-fil-A Controversy is not just to not patronize Chick-fil-A. Perhaps it’s to tell other corporations, ones that supposedly hail gay rights in their hiring and diversity policies, like Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Ben & Jerry’s, to create charitable organizations similar to the WinShape Foundation—but ones that give in the opposite direction, to groups like the HRC, GLAAD, Freedom to Marry, the Ali Forney Center, and state-level marriage-equality advocacy orgs.
That way the arc of the moral universe will bend toward justice, with a little helping pull from money and corporate clout.