Paris restaurant owner denies anti-gay rant but admits Chick-fil-A promotion

Posted on 16 Oct 2012 at 2:33pm

A tipster over in Paris (Texas, that is) alerted us to this Topix.com thread which accuses a restaurant owner in the East Texas town of making “anti-gay hate speech publicly.” The thread provides few concrete details of the allegation, but here’s the first comment:

Those present who heard it were shocked at the homophobic rant that he launched into, hate speech rhetoric such as “fa**ots are taking over everywhere”. Gay and lesbian community- of which HE HAD SEVERAL GOOD CUSTOMERS- will now be boycotting the establishment…

Read all 120 subsequent responses for yourself if you have time, but the restaurant owner, Drew Crawford of Crawford’s Hole in the Wall, told Instant Tea it’s not true.

“It sounds to me like somebody just had a grudge and like they started up something,” said Crawford, who’s owned the restaurant a block from the Lamar County Courthouse for the last 10 years. “Somebody says I made a speech bashing gays. It’s not true. I’ve never bashed anybody.”

Crawford did, however, acknowledge that this summer, at the height of the Chick-fil-A controversy, his restaurant offered free lunches to people who presented receipts from the chicken chain. He said an employee posted the promotion on the restaurant’s Facebook page — and we found the above photo on Flickr of the promotion advertised in chalk on an exterior door of the restaurant.

Crawford compared it to other periodic promotions, such as  free lunch for anyone who works in a hospital. Because the nearest Chick-fil-A is in Sherman, he said the restaurant gave away only one lunch valued at $7. Crawford said he believes marriage is between a man and a woman. But he said he doesn’t hate gay people, he has regular customers who are gay, and everyone is welcome in his restaurant regardless of sexual orientation.

“Do I like Chick-fil-A? Yes. do I like waffle fries? Yes. Am I married to a woman? Yes. Do I have kids? Yes. Everybody’s got their opinions,” Crawford said.

“Do I support gay rights or whatever? No, I don’t, and there’s nothing wrong with that, just like if the gay community doesn’t support something we do, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Crawford said. “Somebody just states their opinion, and then you turn it into, ‘I hate queers and hate faggots.’ … There’s never been a speech. There’s never been nothing.”

Or at least nothing we can verify at this point other than a promotion supporting a company that’s funneled millions to anti-gay hate groups over the last few years.

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