BUFFALO, N.Y. — The popular fast food chain Chick-fil-A has now been banned from a second airport following word just last month that the city council of San Antonio, Texas had voted to exclude the company from a food vendor contract. Food court contractor Delaware North has now also decided to keep Chick-fil-A out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York State.
“Earlier today I spoke with the vendor of the Buffalo Airport food court project, and they informed me they will not be opening a Chick-fil-A as a part of their airport project,” Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, said in a statement on Friday. “A publicly financed facility like the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is not the appropriate venue for a Chick-fil-A restaurant.”
According to reports, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) and Delaware North had originally planned on including the chicken chain at the airport food court in the fall of 2019. But Ryan expressed his disapproval.
“I don’t believe the leadership of the NFTA intends to spread hate and discrimination, but allowing a corporation to do business at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport will help fund continued divisive anti-LGBTQ rhetoric,” he opined on Twitter. “New York is a welcoming state that celebrates diversity. The views of Chick-fil-A do not represent our state or the Western New York community, and businesses that support discrimination have no place operating in taxpayer-funded public facilities.”
While it is not known why, NFTA and Delaware North soon reversed the decision. NFTA said in a statement released to local television station WKBW, “We are working with Delaware North to move forward on identifying and offering best in class food selections for the thousands of customers who come in and out of our airport.”
Chick-fil-A has likewise released a statement, outlining that it continues to be mischaracterized as an anti-homosexual company or one that donates to causes that oppose homosexuality.
“Recent coverage about Chick-fil-A continues to drive an inaccurate narrative about our brand,” the restaurant chain stated. “We want to make it clear that our sole focus is on providing delicious food and welcoming everyone — not being a part of a national political conversation. We do not have a political or social agenda.”
“More than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand. We embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Representatives of Chick-fil-A have also created a page on the company website, it said, to “set the record straight” in light of a “long trend in what continues to be a misleading report that is driving an inaccurate narrative about our brand.”
“It is well-known that our founder S. Truett Cathy used biblical principles to guide our business in its formative stages, and that we still uphold those same principles today,” the page states. “We believe that the ethos of ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ accurately describes how we live and work every single day.”
While not mentioning the outlet’s name, Chick-fil-A noted that ThinkProgress had recently written a report highlighting that the company had donated $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and $150,000 to the Salvation Army in 2017, among others.
“The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a religious organization that seeks to spread an anti-LGBTQ message to college athletes and requires a strict ‘sexual purity’ policy for its employees that bars any ‘homosexual acts,’” reporter Josh Israel wrote in taking issue with the company’s donor practices.
“Paul Anderson Youth Home, a ‘Christian residential home for troubled youth,’ teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is ‘rage against Jesus Christ and His values,’” he bemoaned.
However, Chick-fil-A wrote in its explanation that it was misleading for the article to frame the donations in such a manner, as the company rather has a focus on giving to “youth and educational programs.”
It outlined that its donations to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes were to “fund sports camps and school programs for inner-city youth” across the country. It gave to the Salvation Army for youth projects such as the “camps for kids and the Angel Tree program,” the latter of which serves children who have a parent in prison.
And while the company donated to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, the funds were for “a bike ride fundraiser, operational support [and] an annual Christmas dinner theatre for local children.” Chick-fil-A further noted that it has discontinued giving to the charity “after a blog post surfaced that does not meet Chick-fil-A’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all.”
The New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) states that it does not support the decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from the airport, telling The Hill, “Government actors cannot officially silence speech or take punitive actions based on a person’s or private entity’s political viewpoints. The First Amendment does not permit the NFTA to base its contracting decisions on the political views of a vendor.”
The late pastor and author A.W. Tozer once said, “There is no Christian victory or blessing if we refuse to turn away from the things that God hates. Even if it is accepted in the whole social class of which you are a part, turn away from it. Even if there is something that has come to be accepted by our generation, turn away from it if it is wrong and an offense to our holy and righteous Savior.”