Cracker Barrel has put the brakes on an antigay pastor holding a hate event at one of its locations later this month.
Grayson Fritts, a Baptist pastor who also works as a police detective, had planned to hold an event for his congregation at a Cracker Barrel in Cleveland, Tennessee on June 29.
The decision to allow Fritts to stage an event at the eatery invited criticism from the Tennessee Democratic Party, which noted that Fritts’ beliefs conflicted with the the popular restaurant chain’s public dedication to inclusivity.
Cracker Barrel announced via Twitter that it would not allow Fritts to hold the event, saying: “We take pride in serving as a home away from home for all guests and in showing our communities and our country that the hospitality we practice is open for everyone. We serve everyone who walks through our doors with genuine hospitality, not hate, and require all guests to do the same.”
We work hard every day to foster a culture that is welcoming and inclusive. We strongly disagree with Mr. Fritts’ statements of hate and divisiveness. Please see our full statement below. pic.twitter.com/kYc3fwm5kD
— Cracker Barrel (@CrackerBarrel) June 18, 2019
The chain also cited its corporate zero-tolerance policy for discrimination as grounds for blocking the Fritts event.
Fritts attracted national attention a few weeks ago when he labeled queer people “worthy of death” in a sermon he posted online.
The move sparked an investigation by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office into Fritts’ record to determine if his anti-LGBTQ biases affected any of his cases.
The department also placed Fritts on sick leave until July 19, when he will leave the department for good.