The “world’s first faith-based LGBT film festival” is hitting the road thanks to corporate sponsors. One of those sponsors happens to be one of the most conservative businesses to make the news in the past few years. In a rather startling turn of events, one Chick-fil-A franchise is sponsoring “Level Ground”, the LGBT film festival in question.
While this wouldn’t have made the news for almost any other business, Chick-fil-A’s owner has gone on record repeatedly with his and the company’s views on gay marriage. The views were not favorable. In fact, following highly publicized boycotts for and celebrations of its anti-gay marriage views, Chick-fil-A has become a lodestone of conservative businesses, much like Hobby Lobby, and those with similar views are shocked to learn that the Chick-fil-A logo will be prominently displayed among others in the film festival.
Embracing a New Perspective
The LGBT film festival has the elements of faith that would resonate with the supporters of the restaurant’s viewpoints, but that is where the support ends. In fact, many patrons of the chicken restaurant have started a Change.org petition to let the world – and primarily Chick-fil-A – know that they are not at all pleased to see the familiar logo associated with “an agenda which is contrary to Chick-fil-A’s corporate stance on Christian values regarding marriage and stewardship.” So far the petition has more than 250 signatures.
The film festival’s mission statement, which protestors claim is contrary is to create a “safe space for dialogue about faith, gender and sexuality through the arts.” That does seem an unusual mission for Chick-fil-A, a company that allegedly donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups. But it’s hard to argue with the clearly displayed Chick-fil-A logo on the film festival’s Sponsors page.
Surprised to see such a dramatic shift in perceived opinions, Eater, an online food news source, investigated the festival and reached out to Chick-fil-A’s corporate headquarters. The response from the company was that the LGBT film sponsorship was not a corporate one. Instead, a franchisee decided to sponsor the festival. The official stance by the parent company is that store “operators make decisions on local sponsorships.”
While perhaps not a new leaf for the entire highly conservative company, the sponsorship decision and the parent company’s support of (or perhaps distance from) it certainly stirs the pot a bit on LGBT discussions.