Chick-fil-A’s long history of supporting anti-LGBTQ positions has resurfaced as the head of the company’s charitable branch said the organization does not intend to stop donating to groups with a history of LGBTQ discrimination.
Rodney Bullard, leader of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, defended the group’s donations in an interview published Wednesday in Business Insider, saying they were “relevant and impactful to the community.”
“The calling for us is to ensure that we are relevant and impactful in the community, and that we’re helping children and that we’re helping them to be everything that they can be,” said Bullard, the company’s vice president of corporate social responsibility and the executive director of the company’s charitable foundation. “For us, that’s a much higher calling than any political or cultural war that’s being waged. This is really about an authentic problem that is on the ground, that is present and ever present in the lives of many children who can’t help themselves.”
Bullard told Business Insider that Chick-fil-A is focused on serving low-income and underprivileged children, ignoring the fact that LGBTQ youth are often disproportionately harmed by issues like homelessness, mental illness and poor education.
The company, which is headquartered in Georgia, has long drawn criticism over its donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations. Tax documents obtained in March by ThinkProgress found that the company donated about $1.8 million in 2017 to groups known to discriminate against the queer community, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The Salvation Army and the Paul Anderson Youth Home. Chick-fil-A said it has since stopped donating to the latter organization after learning of its strict policy against same-sex marriage.
Chick-fil-A has also gained heat for not including employee protections for discrimination stemming from sexual orientation and gender identity, according to ThinkProgress. The company also consistently scores a zero in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual buyers guide.
The company prompted outrage in the LGBTQ community after billionaire CEO Dan Cathy publicly denounced same-sex marriage in 2012. Chick-fil-A since pledged not to have a political agenda, though its tax filings show differently.
In the months since the filings’ release, two airports have banned Chick-fil-A from opening on their premises. San Jose, California, said it would allow a location at its airport if the company encourages hiring LGBTQ employees and if LGBTQ flags are hoisted at the airport to counter queer discrimination.
Some people on Twitter reacted to the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s dismissal of criticism over its donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations: