American fast-food chain Chick-fil-A was the focus of a controversy following comments made in June 2102 by chief operating officer (COO) Dan Cathy opposing same-sex marriage. While on the radio talk show, The Ken Coleman Show, Dan Cathy said,
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”
The following month, in an interview with Biblical Recorder, Dan Cathy was asked about opposition to his company’s support of the traditional family. He replied,
“We are very much supportive of the family— the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that…We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
These two statements by Dan Cathy led to the negative publicity Chick-fil-A received last summer. Following these statements, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights activists called for protests and boycotts of the chain, while counter-protestors rallied in support by eating at the restaurants.
Public Relations Campaign
I have created a public relations campaign to reverse the negative publicity placed on Chick-fil-A.
Using the communication technique, Dan Cathy needs to make a public apology to the LGBT community. Many individuals were hurt by this comment and will never eat at Chick-fil-A again, if he does not make amends.
Chick-fil-A should invite Ellen Degeneres to make a public appearance at their restaurant. If she agreed to come, this would make a powerful statement. Chick-fil-A should also invite the LGBT community to attend and listen to Dan Cathy give a public apology and Ellen Degeneres could give a speech as well.
Using the advertising technique, Chick-fil-A needs to issue flyers and ads that mention their respect for the LGBT community. They do not need to support same sex marriage, but at the very least Chick-fil-A needs to recognize what they did was wrong so it does not happen in the future.
After reading the “Ethical Guidance for Public Relations Practitioners”, these practices and techniques will meet the standards of accuracy, fairness, and responsibility to the public.
All of these public relations practices and techniques could backfire on the company. The individuals who are against same sex marriage might become upset once Chick-fil-A apologizes to the LGBT community. These people might choose to stop eating at Chick-fil-A, which would decrease sales.
Overall, I think it is ironic that Dan Cathy said “thank the Lord we live in a country where we can share our values”. If that is true then same sex marriage couples have every right to share their values and beliefs. They have every right to openly love and marry their partners, just like heterosexual couples.