In a Huffington Post Gay Voices piece today, Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer has issued a cease and desist on behalf of Chick-fil-A.
According to Shane, following several meetings with Chick-fil-A President, Dan Cathy and an invite to be his personal guest to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Shane has issued an all-clear. This is not the first time Shane has attempted to allay the fears of the LGBT community surrounding Chick-fil-A. In September of last year, he formally suspended his organization’s boycott of the company, which seemed to some as though the entire LGBT community was doing the same.
Following an interview on HuffPost Live in which Think Progress LGBT’s Zack Ford and I discussed these topics with Shane, I thought it important to follow-up. One of the important discoveries of Shane’s piece is that he’s been allowed access to top-secret internal Chick-fil-A documents and has seen their tax forms which prove Chick-fil-A is no longer giving to the “most divisive” anti-gay groups such as Focus on the Family or Exodus International – both of whom have been linked to Uganda’s infamous “Kill the Gays” bill. But that’s hard to comment on since Cathy only showed it to Shane personally.
There are an enormous number of questions which arise and it’s important that we ask them before chomping into a greasy, fatty homophobe sandwich. Some were asked during the interview above, but were never answered and others are now being asked around the interwebs.
Why would Dan Cathy choose to share these secret internal documents with only Shane instead of clearing his name and his organization’s reputation by sending them to a reporter? There could be several reasons for this. If the story is leaked to the mainstream media and it’s true, some of Chick-fil-A’s gay hating base might get real mad. Or perhaps the only reason they stopped giving to a few of the anti-gay groups was to earn Shane’s stamp of approval and thus earn Shane as an advocate to all those college campuses wanting to open new Chick-fil-As. Either way, Chick-fil-A is STILL contributing to anti-gay groups.
Why would Dan Cathy choose to pursue only Shane Windmeyer and Campus Prid instead of larger, farther reaching LGBT orgs such as HRC, The Task Force or GLAAD? Is it that Cathy found solace in the fact that Shane seemed like a nice guy or is it that Shane is the one with access to Cathy opening more lucrative restaurants on college campuses?
Finally, Shane’s piece, though ultimately about his budding friendship with Cathy, has led to media claims that Chick-fil-A has ceased funding to anti-gay groups. Though Shane blames the media for not reading into his own fine print that it was just the “most divisive” groups, he has managed to provide cover for a virulently anti-gay company and it’s virulently anti-gay President.
I hate conspiracy theories, truly I do, but there’s quite clearly something not kosher here – and I’m not talking about the soggy pickle in a Chick-fil-A sandwich. I like Shane and I think Campus Progress does incredibly important work. I would just hate to see that reputation at all sullied by lifting up those who steadfastly stand in opposition to equality. Dan Cathy may very well have found a friend in the LGBT community – as many homophobes have stated “Some of my best friends are gay…” But the harm his contributions have made cannot be cast aside simply because he invited a gay guy to a football game.