The opening of Toronto’s first Chick-fil-A restaurant is has been met by protesters as backlash is increasing against the chain on social media.
The fast food company has a long history of donating to anti-gay organizations, with its charitable network giving millions to “conversion therapy.” They’ve even funded groups that believe being gay should be re-criminalized, including the Family Research Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Scrutiny has been on the chain for years and now animal rights group Liberation T.O. and LGBTQ community centre The 519 are getting behind the Toronto protest.
“Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ2S agenda and politics is well-documented,” The 519 wrote in a press release, adding that the chain doesn’t offer protection, benefits or diversity training to LGBTQ employees.
"Many US cities, campuses, and retail outlets have refused to allow Chick-fil-A to locate within their spaces, and/or have been vocal opponents of the corporation’s hateful values. Toronto and the rest of Canada need to be next in line,” they said.
The protest began 10:30 a.m. at the 1 Bloor East opening location.
Crowds of people gathered outside the restaurant with signs that read “Cluck Off” and “Chick-fill-A is full-A homophobia”.
Chick-fil-A opens in Toronto today. There are drag performers and protesters on one side, a line-up of customers on the other. Here’s a short clip. pic.twitter.com/y7jzqtiDYG— Arvin Joaquin (@arvinjoaquin) September 6, 2019
Here’s one of the signs seen outside Chick-fil-A in Toronto. pic.twitter.com/NY32cTaTmf— Arvin Joaquin (@arvinjoaquin) September 6, 2019
Protesters arrived shortly after the doors opened pic.twitter.com/duKOd4Dhmu— Meagan Fitzpatrick (@fitzpatrick_m) September 6, 2019
Prior to the protest, Chick-fil-A hired a PR firm to handle the launch, so it’s clear they know their entry into the Canadian marketplace might not be met with open arms.
Reaction from Torontonians have been mixed, with some decrying the chain while others are lining up ready for a chicken sandwich.
GOOD.— Matt Glynne (@MattGlynne) September 3, 2019
To my Toronto friends, know that if you buy food from Chick-fil-a you are supporting an ANTI-LGBT corporation.
Ask yourself what’s more important; fast food that’s been sold to you through functional online marketing, or supporting your friends & peers as a strong ally? https://t.co/f0LVm5Ugb4
People camped outside Chick-fil-A for the grand opening in Toronto 😂 pic.twitter.com/j5ym4NFePd— VLAD JR. (@fenixconnexion) September 6, 2019
Speaking as a sister: Chick-fil-a can go shove their sandwiches where the sun don’t shine. They opened their first Canadian location at a spot at the start of the Toronto Pride Parade and I hope and pray people smash their windows every damn night until they flee the country.— Brooke Sales-Lee (@BrookeSalesLee) September 6, 2019
“Move outta the way, I want some Chick-fil-A” that’s what I’ll be saying when it comes to opening day.— Elle (@misscoco_88) September 3, 2019
Would you eat at Canada’s first Chick-fil-A?