On Tuesday, fast-food chain Chick-fil-A became the target campaign among left-leaning social media users who claimed the restaurant handed out “Blue Lives Matter” shirts as a way of responding to mass anti-racism protests taking place in most major cities.
There was just one problem: the photo they were using as evidence of Chick-fil-A’s “racism” is from 2015.
“An image being shared on Facebook of Chick-fil-A workers wearing shirts that appear to support police officers are being used by some to claim that the company is ‘racist.’ According to the fast-food chain, however, the pictures are being taken out of context,” Fox News reports.
The photo shows a Chick-fil-A worker filling orders in a blue shirt with the words, “Back the Blue,” written across the back under the chain’s logo. “Several Facebook users have shared the photo and claimed that the slogan was worn to show support for police officers during the recent protests,” Fox News adds, noting that some leftists, concerned that Chick-fil-A was openly refusing to participate in the “Black Lives Matter” movement, were planning a boycott.
Reuters, hardly a right-leaning media outlet, dug deeper, however, and discovered that the photos are from 2015, from a single restaurant, and were worn to support a local football team, not a local police department.
“A representative from Jackson Spalding, Chick-fil-A’s public relations firm confirmed to Reuters that these t-shirts were made in 2015 by ‘one locally owned-and-operated Chick-fil-A restaurant; to support a local high school football team,” Reuters says.
“The photo is currently being taken out of context,” Chick-fil-A’s spokesperson told the outlet, “so we apologize for any confusion this has caused.”
Although Reuters couldn’t find much information on the shirts themselves, they did find several social media posts referencing the shirts, all from different years. In one case, a similar photo said to be taken in Texas, was used to claim that Chick-fil-A had handed out “Back the Blue” shirts to support law enforcement after several police officers were shot at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas that year. Snopes — again, hardly a right-leaning outlet — debunked that claim.
Chick-fil-A is, of course, a regular target for leftist ire. Its founders have given to conservative causes and, as Christians, oppose same-sex marriage and abortion. As a company, Chick-fil-A, though, appears to have stopped its political giving.
Chick-fil-A’s CEO, Dan Cathy, issued a statement last week expressing support for ongoing anti-racism protests, which arose following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. In it, he expressed both understanding and solidarity with marchers.
“What I have come to understand is that they are tired of the violence, abuse, and injustice,” Cathy said. “They are tired because no amount of kneeling or marching seems to truly address what has ailed our country for generations: A controverted view of race, which is sometimes overt and sometimes subtle but always destructive.”
“Despair and hopelessness have always been a part of the human experience,” Cathy continued, in a call to action. “In the book of Nehemiah, found in the Old Testament, we read about the conviction of the cupbearer of the king, who became aware of the plight of his people in Jerusalem. His conviction moved him to action to be a catalyst for the renaissance in his homeland.”
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