More than a week after igniting a national debate about gay marriage and corporate America’s role in the discussion, Chick-fil-A still has taste-makers taking sides, with a visit from Sarah Palin, tweets from the mayor of Washington D.C., a spot on Conan O’Brien’s show and a surge of online recipes for the chain’s chicken sandwich.
On Friday, Palin swung by a Chick-fil-A in The Woodlands, Texas, “to support a great business,” she wrote on Twitter and Facebook. She posted a photo of herself and her husband, Todd, in the restaurant with Chick-fil-A bags and making a thumbs-up sign.
Palin stayed in the news through the weekend after CNN opened a Sunday segment about her tweet with a snippet of the Pink song “Stupid Girls.”
The network later apologized, saying in a statement to media news site Mediaite that “the music selection was a poor choice and was not intended to be linked to any news story. We regret any perception that they were planned together.”
Chick-fil-A has been soaking in controversy since mid-July, when its president, Dan Cathy, made comments that the chain was “guilty as charged” of supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit.” He also suggested that same-sex unions were “inviting God’s judgment.”
Public officials from San Francisco, Boston and Chicago cried foul, as did onetime Chick-fil-A business partner and Muppets creator the Jim Henson Co. But others, including Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, threw their support behind the chain as other customers defended Cathy’s free speech and religious liberty rights.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent C. Grayon Friday tweeted a series of messages bashing Chick-fil-A.
“Given my longstanding strong support for LGBT rights & marriage, I would not support #hatechicken,” he wrote in one. “You think Chick-fil-A's support for bigotry is an embarrassment? I agree!” he wrote in another.
On Thursday, Conan O’Brien took a jab at the company by dreaming up a new puppet mascot for Chick-fil-A and inviting him on the late-night show. Chaz the Intolerant Chicken proceeded to make a string of sexually-tinged jokes about the proper ways to enjoy Chick-fil-A foods.
Meanwhile, recipes for the chain’s popular chicken sandwich have emerged on several websites. The Advocate, a magazine for gays and lesbians, posted one version from chef Hilah Johnson “for those who crave one of the company’s chicken sandwiches but don’t want to patronize the restaurant.”
Food blog Serious Eats posted another recipe. “You can even make 'em on a Sunday,” wrote blogger J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.
“I don't normally like to mix my food with my politics, but the thought of where my chicken sandwich dollars might be going is enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth, no matter how crispety-crunchety, spicy-sweet and salty that juicy chicken sandwich may be,” he wrote.