This is no April Fool’s joke: Robin Roberts, a Good Morning America co-anchor, is headlining a leadership conference put on by Chick-fil-A. What is this lesbian smoking?
Reader RJ alerts us that on May 6, Roberts will join other boldface names — including author John C. Maxwell, finance guru Dave Ramsey, GMA economics contributor Suzy Welch, marketing whiz Seth Godin, and, yes, Chick-fil-A chief Dan Cathy (pictured below) — at Chick-fil-A Leadercast. The event, which will be broadcast online, was originally called “Maximum Impact” and then “GIANT Impact” before being renamed after the restaurant chain last year. If you can’t be among the couple thousand to attend the ticketed event in person in Atlanta (tickets start at $199), then you can attend a local viewing party, many of which are, not surprisingly, hosted at churches; fees appear to be around $59-69 per person, and include a Chick-fil-A lunch at some venues.
That Roberts would even seriously consider an offer from the noted anti-gay company (which refuses to acknowledge its anti-gayness) is profound. That she would agree to take the stage at a Chick-fil-A event is horrifying. (It’s unclear if Roberts is being paid to appear, but producers of these type of events, where attendees must pay for tickets, do provide some serious remuneration to their prominent guests.)
Does it matter that Roberts, who to our knowledge has never acknowledged her sexuality in public, is gay? No, not in the sense that anyone who believes in equal rights for all people should be disassociating themselves with the chicken chain that supports hate groups. But that Roberts is gay makes her decision to partake in the event even more unnerving.
Roberts, meanwhile, isn’t the only family member at GMA: Co-host Sam Champion is also a ‘mo. One might surmise Champion, the local weatherman-cum-jack of all trades television staple, would have shared some reasoning with his colleague. Evidently not. Or Roberts was too interested in collecting her fee. Or pushing her personal brand. Or just bounding up on stage and trampling over her gay brothers and sisters on the way to the podium.
(Queerty has reached out to ABC for comment. We’ll update this post if we hear back.)
Meanwhile, to put the absurdity of Chick-fil-A’s Leadercast in even more perspective, consider that fellow speaker Suzy Welch is the wife of business titan and former GE chief Jack Welch — whom she began sleeping with while she was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review and set to interview Welch, who was already married. Does that fit Chick-fil-A’s definition of promoting strong marriages? Cathy said it himself that “marriage has long been a focus of Chick-Fil-A.” Does that include helping end them?
And it’s not even as if Roberts is just playing the field: To our knowledge, while she is clearly comfortable leading an event for an anti-gay corporation, she’s never headlined an event for The Trevor Project, NGLTF, or even GLAAD — and they’ll let anyone come to their awards show. Roberts has, however, helped reintroduce the violent Chris Brown to America by agreeing to interview him this month not once, but twice.
As for Chick-fil-A head Dan Cathy? I guess if local business groups disinvite you from their events, you can just attend your own.