Thursday, August 2, 2012

But what was it actually like?

Now that I've made my strident post for the day, here's one that will be much less so. I personally didn't see any, but apparently there was some real misbehavior going on yesterday at Chick-fil-A restaurants, by both supporters and opponents, in various places on Mike Huckabee's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

A CFO/Treasurer at Vante called Adam Smith no longer holds that role, having been being fired from the company after filming himself berating a Chick-fil-A drive-through employee.

Gay and lesbian employees at Chick-fil-A have had a rough time of it from all directions-- they were hit with a barrage of homophobic speech from supporters of Dan Cathy, as well as accusations of supporting it themselves from customers/protesters/protesting customers who assume that working for the company means accepting the beliefs of its owners wholesale. Cathy himself has expressed how very much he would like for this to be the case, but it isn't. And it isn't fair to punish workers, especially low-level workers, for what Cathy's family has said and done:
One gay employee who works at Chick-fil-A headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., and asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job, says he is getting it from both sides. On the one hand, there is the customer who came in and said he supported Dan Cathy and then "continues to say something truly homophobic, e.g. 'I'm so glad you don't support the queers, I can eat in peace,'" the employee, who is 23 and has worked for Chick-fil-A since he was 16, wrote in an email. On the other hand, he continued, "I was yelled at for being a god-loving, conservative, homophobic Christian while walking some food out to a guest in a mall dining room." 
He disagrees with Cathy's views, but the reaction from the public has been just as hard to swallow. 
"It seems like very few people have stopped to think about who actually works for Chick-fil-A and what those people's opinions are," he wrote. "They are putting us in a pot and coming to support us or hate us based on something they heard and assume we agree with." 
Gabriel Aguiniga, a gay employee at a Chick-fil-A in Colorado, also said the hardest part hasn't been hearing Cathy's comments. Instead, "[it's] constantly having people come up to you and say, 'I support your company, because your company hates the gays,'" Aguiniga, 18, wrote in an email. "It really takes a toll on me." . . .
"Now, anyone that works there is stuck with a stigma of being homophobic, even when many of us are far from it," K said. One of her coworkers, who supports same-sex marriage, has had people say things like, “Don’t give me that hate sh*t,” and “I hope you choke on that chicken," while she was handing out samples. 
But for K, the hardest part hasn't been the actions of customers and protesters, it's the money the company gives to anti-gay groups. 
"At the end of the day part of our profits still go towards Dan Cathy, and subsequently, all the organizations he supports," she said. K is now actively searching for work elsewhere. Many of her coworkers, she said, are looking for new jobs, too.
And then....we have this:

I always say I admire Ed Brayton for his ability to document so much political lunacy that requires actually hearing and seeing the words come from the horse's mouth, because I can't do it. It's some combination of horror at the words themselves and a general sympathy for people who embarrass themselves publicly, perhaps, but it makes videos like this one extremely hard to watch. But at least I got to laugh at 5:22-5:30.

ETA: At the Daily Beast, A Gay Chick-fil-A Employee Speaks Out. Excerpt:
We were so busy we nearly ran out of food. We did run out of some things, like nuggets, strips, lemonade, and waffle fries. Though we didn’t have to close early like we feared, by 10 p.m., we barely had anything left. Never before have I been so grateful that I have tomorrow off. 
Customers sang “God Bless America” in the dining room. They vocalized their support for “family values” in a way that made me want to vomit. We had two protestors outside, and I took five minutes to run out, hug them, and tell them: if I weren’t working here now, I’d be out here with you. 
They said, “It’s okay, we know what it’s like to have to work for a paycheck.” Hearing that was ten times better than hearing from my acquaintances on the other side of the coin: “How do you work there and still sleep at night, knowing their stance against equal rights?”  I sleep with a roof over my head, which is about all I can ask. 
I can’t tell you much more about the customers today, because of my limited contact with them. I work in the kitchen, so I don’t see much of the clientele.  What made today so difficult—more difficult than always being behind on food, running out of one thing or another, needing to be in two places at once, etc—was the attitudes of the other employees. 
No one really stopped talking about the reasons why today was as busy as it was. The people I work alongside kept going on and on about how powerful it was to be part of such a righteous movement, and how encouraged they were to know that there were so many people who agree with Dan Cathy. They went on at great length about how it was wrong not just for gays to marry, but to exist. One kid, age 19, said “I hope the gays go hungry.” 
I nearly walked out then and there. That epitomizes the characteristics of these evangelical “Christians” who are so vocally opposed to equal rights. Attitudes like that are the opposite of Christ-like.
ETA 2:  I have no comment on this, because nothing needs to be added. But do give it a read.

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