Spectators at a Cincinnati hockey match got an unexpected show as part of the game this weekend when demonstrators hijacked a Zamboni to protest Chick-fil-A’s homophobic ownership.
It happened during a match between the Cincinnati Cyclones and the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday evening. A group of fans climbed aboard the so-called Chick-fil-A Fan Zam, a Zamboni adorned with Chick-fil-A advertising. Fans can purchase a ride on the Zamboni for only $10. The seven protesters carried what appeared to be a birthday sign when they boarded the vehicle. As it began to move, the group unfolded the sign to reveal smaller protest banners that read “Chick-fil-A is anti-gay.” The protest attracted swift action from the Cyclones’ public relations.
“During the first intermission a group of protestors riding the Chick-fil-A Fan Zam displayed unacceptable messaging that was hidden inside of a birthday sign,” said a spokesman for the Cyclones. “The Cincinnati Cyclones & U.S. Bank Arena do not condone this type of behavior or the messaging expressed. These actions do not align with the family-friendly atmosphere that we aim to provide. Chick-fil-A has been a wonderful partner and we are thankful for their on-going support. The offending parties have been removed from the game and we apologize to anyone that may have been offended by these actions.”
The seven protesters were threatened with trespassing charges and ordered to vacate the arena, never to return. Rink officials have also banned signs from the Chick-fil-A Fan Zam on future rides.
Chick-fil-A has long attracted criticism for anti-LGBTQ policies and donations. The opening of new restaurant locations at airports continues to attract controversy, as do openings on college campuses.