In many U.S. cities, the opening of a new Chick-fil-A is met with long lines for chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. In Canada’s largest city, though, the grand opening of a Chick-fil-A last week was met with protestors calling for a boycott.
The protest on Friday was organized by the 519, an LGBT group, and Liberation TO, an animal rights organization, which held “Don’t Eat Hate” signs and wore drag costumes. At one point the demonstrators even laid on the ground side-by-side in a “die-in” protest outside the front door.
By the second day, the customers who were in line to buy food outnumbered the protesters 100 to 1.
“We just want to make the population of Toronto aware of where their money is going if they decide to support this establishment,” protester Tash Riot told the Toronto Star.
The only other Chick-fil-A in Toronto is located at the airport, The Star said.
Another protester, Helena Poison, said the protesters were there to “be visibly queer and show our support.”
Among the signs held by protestors was one reading, “Chick-fil-A is Full of Homophobia.” Others read, “Boycott Chick-fil-A” and “Cluck-Off.”
People are protesting outside the opening of #Toronto's first Chick-fil-A location - 📹 @RonaldJayQ pic.twitter.com/rmUTnAEo47— blogTO (@blogTO) September 6, 2019
The protesters were greatly outnumbered by Chick-fil-A customers who stood patiently in line to purchase their food. The first customer reportedly got in line at 10:30 p.m. the previous day.
Brian Lilley, a columnist for The Toronto Star, wrote, “The line to get into the Toronto @ChickfilA goes around the corner and down the street. It is bigger than the loud protests out front.”
The line to get into the Toronto @ChickfilA goes around the corner and down the street. It is bigger than the loud protests out front. Interesting view just before lunch. pic.twitter.com/7XzG05WuEq— Brian Lilley (@brianlilley) September 6, 2019
Thomas Daigle, a reporter for CBC News, said on the second day of protests, customers still greatly outnumbered protesters.
“Chick-fil-A in Toronto, day 2. One protester and close to 100 people lined up for chicken,” Daigle wrote.
Chick-fil-A in Toronto, day 2. One protester and close to 100 people lined up for chicken. pic.twitter.com/0Fefx06pB6— Thomas Daigle (@thomasdaigle) September 7, 2019
Wilson Yang, the operator at the Toronto Chick-fil-A, said the protesters – and everyone else – were welcome to come inside and eat.
“We respect people’s right to share their opinions and want all Torontonians to know they are welcome at Chick-fil-A Yonge & Bloor. Our focus is on offering a welcoming and respectful environment for our guests and team members, and we encourage people to give us a try,” Yang said in a statement to The Star.
Chick-fil-A is owned by Christians. Its founder, as well as its current CEO, have publicly stated their belief in the biblical definition of marriage.
The chicken chain is the third-largest fast-food chain in the United States in sales. Its official corporate purpose is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.” Its restaurants are closed on Sundays.
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Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff