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ATLANTA, GA — They're lining up around the block to get into Chick-Fil-A, the Atlanta-based fried chicken chain, at its new New York City locations. But don't tell that to folks at the New Yorker.
A columnist for the magazine has blasted the arrival of the Southern chain's four stores in Manhattan, criticizing everything from the owners' politics to its corporate strategies to its trademark, spelling-challenged cow mascots.
In a Friday column titled "Chick-Fil-A's Creepy Infiltration Of New York City," writer Dan Piepenbring focuses heavily on the chain's reputation as a conservative Christian-run company and the controversy over news in recent years that profits were used to support anti-gay causes, including the fight against same-sex marriage.
Chick-Fil-A's arrival in New York, he wrote, is "worse than a load of manure on the F train."
"(T)he brand's arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism," Piepenbring wrote, while noting that, during a recent visit, there was a line "stretched almost to the end of the block" to get in. "Its headquarters, in Atlanta, are adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple's feet."
In a 2012 interview, CEO Dan Cathy said he supports "the biblical definition of the family unit." "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives," Cathy said in the interview with Baptist Press.
The company, which closes on Sundays for religious reasons, had also made large donations to organizations that oppose same-sex marriage, such as the Marriage & Family Foundation.
Many people announced plans on social media and elsewhere to boycott the restaurant over those stances. Others made political shows of eating there in support.
After the controversy arose, the company announced a renewed effort to "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect." In 2014, Cathy told the Journal-Constitution that he regretted that his statements aligned with anti-gay attitudes.
"Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by (recognizing) the mistakes that you make," Cathy said. "And you learn from those mistakes. If not, you're just a fool. I'm thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it."
But religion and politics weren't all that Piepenbring doesn't care for about Chick-Fil-a, which was founded by Truett Cathy in 1946 in College Park, just a few miles south of Atlanta. The Cows (yes, Chick-Fil-A capitalizes its mascots' species) also came in for some abuse.
"Since their introduction in the mid-nineties — when they began advising Atlanta motorists to "eat mor chikin" — they've remained one of the most popular, and most morbid, advertising campaigns in fast-food history," he wrote.
"It's worth asking why Americans fell in love with an ad in which one farm animal begs us to kill another in its place. Most restaurants take pains to distance themselves from the brutalities of the slaughterhouse; Chick-fil-A invites us to go along with the Cows' Schadenfreude."
Wrapping up, the writer also blasts Chick-Fil-A as a symbol of fast food-culture in general, noting a rising wave of generic chain restaurants replacing mom-and-pop establishments in the Big Apple.
"Today, the Cows' 'guerrilla insurgency' is more of a carpet bombing," he wrote. "New Yorkers are under no obligation to repeat what they say. Enough, we can tell them. NO MOR."
The chain's most recent New York location, a locally-owned, 12,000-square-foot franchise on Fulton Street, opened on March 29, creating 150 jobs, according to Chick-Fil-A.
Chick-Fil-A did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story. But online, plenty of folks were pushing back against Piepenbring's assault on the home of fried chicken sandwiches, waffle fries and tasty sweet tea.
"The New Yorker may not like (Chick-Fil-A's) Christian beliefs, but I can't wait to see how they react when the line to get in goes around the block....and some of their staff are in line," one Twitter user wrote. "GO CHICK-FIL-A, one of the best fast-food companies in the world!"
"As a native, proud New Yorker this article is breathtakingly embarrassing," wrote another. "I've been to Chick-fil-A and I've gotten plenty (of) chicken, zero sermons."
A third made a joke about another hallmark of any visit to Chick-Fil-A.
"New Yorker: You've infiltrated our city," he wrote. "Chick-Fil-A: My pleasure."
Photo of Fulton Street Chick-Fil-A courtesy Chick-Fil-A
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Source : https://patch.com/georgia/atlanta/new-yorker-magazine-slams-chick-fil-infiltration