In a recent opinion piece in Time magazine, noted food writer Josh Ozersky took a strange stance on Chick-fil-A’s notorious affiliation with anti-gay groups: He stood up for the fast-food chain and said he wouldn’t join any boycott of its artery-clogging fried chicken sandwiches.
Chick-fil-A, the fast-food outlet, has one plane of interaction with the public: its sandwiches, sodas and waffle fries. The prices are fair, its employment practices not onerous, and the food is good, especially if you are as devoted to MSG as I am. You could make a strong argument that the suffering their chickens endure prior to becoming sandwiches constitutes a kind of original sin; and that’s something you have to think about. But businesses should be judged by their products and practices, not by their politics…
Chick-fil-A’s charitable foundation gives money to theocratic organizations that I consider malevolent. Objecting to gay marriage is, at least in my view, indefensible in a free society, but it’s only a small part of these groups’ agendas.
But they have a right to exist, and American businesses have a right to donate to them. Customers, in turn, have a right to boycott them. But, just as with JC Penney and DeGeneres, it doesn’t seem fair to me… When I was a kid, it was taken for granted that Jews should never drive Fords or go to Disney World, since both Ford and Disney were notoriously anti-Semitic. My father’s reasoning was that, since everyone back then was anti-Semitic, picking on Ford and Disney was arbitrary and pointless….
Businesses should be judged on what they do — to their customers, their employees, their suppliers and their chickens—and not on what they do with their profits. That’s part of living in a free society too.
Since Mr. Ozersky has won a James Beard Award for his writing, we’re going to assume he’s being disingenuous and not just thick.
Nobody can—or should—completely separate a business from its public policy: If McDonald’s was paying the legal fees for accused child molester Jerry Sandusky or Burger King was donating to an Adolf Hitler shrine in Cleveland wouldn’t that have some bearing on your decision whether or not to patronize them?
Ozerksy is saying its none of our business that Chick-fil-a gives more than $1.1 million dollars to anti-marriage-equality groups and reparative-therapy organizations. But isn’t that just because gay rights isn’t that important to him?
What if Chick-fil-a was trying to outlaw divorce? Ozerksy is on his second marriage, so you can imagine he’d have more of a stake in a boycott then.
And if, as he says, we can judge a company on its employee practices, what about the fact that Chick-fil-A routinely asks potential franchisees and employees about their marital status and religious affiliations?
What about the chain’s gay employees: What kind of inhospitable work environment can they be facing?
Well, maybe Ozersky is just the wrong guy to speak about business ethics: He was roundly criticized in 2010 for writing about his wedding without disclosing that the superstar chefs involved donated their services and food.
Yep, he pulled a total Star Jones. (And apparently it’s not the first time for him)
Maybe Chick-fil-A bribed Ozersky with cases of waffle fries in return for this op-ed. Judging from his appearance, it sure looks that way.