The culture war over Chick-fil-A and the popular fast-food chicken chain’s stance on LGBT rights has reached a new frontier: the Zamboni machine at a minor league hockey arena in Cincinnati.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, when the Cincinnati Cyclones of ECHL played a playoff game on Saturday, several people riding on the Zamboni ice-cleaning machine held up signs that said, “Chick-fil-A is anti-gay.” The Zamboni is sponsored by Chick-fil-A, and the chain’s cow mascot was on the Zamboni as well.
The team’s Zamboni is known as the “Fan Zam” and allows fans to ride in it during games. The team announced that it had thrown those seven fans out of the arena and that they have been threatened with arrest for trespassing if they ever return. Also, the team has banned signs on the Fan Zam going forward.
The Cyclones also released a statement that serves as an example of a sports team going absolutely all-out on behalf of a sponsor.
“During the first intermission a group of protestors [sic] riding the Chick-fil-A Fan Zam displayed unacceptable messaging that was hidden inside of a birthday sign,” the team said on Twitter during the game. “These actions do not align with the family friendly atmosphere that we aim to provide. Chick-fil-A has been a wonderful partner and we are thankful for their on-going support… The offending parties have been removed from the game and we apologize to anyone that may have been offended by these actions.”
Chick-fil-A’s CEO, Dan Cathy, was for years a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and has donated to causes opposing LGBT rights. This has led some consumers and even politicians to boycott the company. In 2012, opponents of same-sex marriage held “Chick-fil-A Day,” in which, per NBC News, thousands of fans flocked to Chick-fil-A locations.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for president in 2020 as a Democrat, proposed a compromise to the Chick-fil-A controversy in an interview last month, per The Inquisitr.
“I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken,” Buttigieg, who is openly gay, said in an interview with The Breakfast Club.
He also offered to broker a peace deal between the factions in the Chick-fil-A battle.
Chris Seelbach, a city councilman in Cincinnati, posted on Facebook over the weekend that the Cyclones, who have hosted Pride Nights in the past, cannot “have it both ways” by also having Chick-fil-A as a sponsor.