Chick-Fil-A Forced To Close Its Only U.K. Location, Under Pressure From LGBTQ Activists

Mike MozartFlickr(CC BY 2.0 Cropped, resized.)

Chick-Fil-A, the American fast food restaurant known for its founders’ anti-LGBTQ activism, has learned that the lease on its one and only U.K. location will not be renewed following pressure from LGBTQ activists.

As BBC News reports, Chick-Fil-A has been planning a major expansion into Europe, and its (so-far) only U.K. location opened last week, at The Oracle shopping center in Reading, Berkshire. However, eight days after the franchise opened, Oracle’s management decided not to extend the company’s lease after its six-month trial period expires. The decision came following pressure from England’s LGBTQ community who called for a boycott regarding the location.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the shopping center said that “the right thing to do” was to close the location. Whether that decision was made due to poor sales as a result of the boycott, or simply acquiescence to the LGBTQ community, remains unclear.

“We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however, we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-Fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further,” the statement reads.

Reading Pride, the organization that called for the boycott, praised the decision to allow the company to operate until the end of its six-month lease, saying that it gives the employees there time to find new jobs. However, the organization will continue to advocate for a boycott of the store.

a chick fil a sandwich
Featured image credit: J. ReedWikimedia Commons(CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Chick-Fil-A has been a target for criticism since 2012 when then-COO Dan Cathy had, through the company’s charitable foundation, been donating to groups advocating against same-sex marriage. The revelations sparked a boycott, and the company later announced it would no longer donate to such groups.

However, earlier this year, it was revealed that the company has still been donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations with anti-LGBTQ sentiments.

That anti-LGBTQ activism has made Chick-Fil-A and its products unwelcome in certain locations. For example, last week, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, a New Orleans high school principal turned down a free Chick-Fil-A lunch for its teachers, saying that he made the decision out of respect for his school’s LGBTQ staff.

Similarly, as Delish reports, back in March San Antonio effectively banned Chick-Fil-A from its airport, requiring the company that manages food and concessions at the facility to not lease to Chick-Fil-A. Later, Buffalo, New York, followed suit in keeping Chick-Fil-A out of its own airport.