A Dallas police sergeant has been transferred to the jail after he allegedly made inappropriate comments to two lesbian patrol officers concerning Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day last week.
Sgt. Mark Johnson, a 12-year-veteran, has been assigned to the jail pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, according to DPD Assistant Chief Michael Genovesi.
The two lesbian officers complained after Johnson placed a Chick-fil-A bag in front of them on Wednesday, Aug. 1, and said something about having eaten at the restaurant, Genovesi said.
Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, organized by anti-gay former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, was designed to show support for Chick-fil-A’s opposition to same-sex marriage. And the lesbian officers said they felt Johnson, their supervisor, was trying to send them a message.
Later during a meeting, Johnson read an announcement sent out by Genovesi concerning how officers were to handle a gay kiss-in planned at Chick-fil-A restaurants last Friday. The kiss-in was organized by members of the LGBT community in response to Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. As Johnson read the announcement, he was looking at the lesbian officers. Feeling intimidated, they left the meeting early.
“I would reiterate that we do take any type of discrimination or harassment issue seriously,” Genovesi told Instant Tea. “I’m optimistic that the investigation will ferret out what happened on this, and we’ll take action if action is called for.”
The recent Chick-fil-A controversy has sparked responses from both sides but also a closer evaluation of other companies’ views – and political contributions.
ABC News highlighted several companies that have given to anti-gay organizations and political foundations.
Gold’s Gym International CEO and President Robert Rowling donatedmore than $1 million to American Crossroads, an organization started by GOP political strategists including Karl Rove and a super PAC backing Mitt Romney.
Gold’s is a subsidiary of private Texas-based TRT Holdings, which also owns Omni Hotels. Omni is one of the few major hotel chains that doesn’t offer domestic partner benefits to its employees throughout the U.S.
Omni’s Dallas convention center hotel offered DP benefits after the issue was raised by Dallas Voice and Mayor Tom Leppert convinced the company to do so, even though it hadn’t been considered as part of the operating agreement between the city and the hotel.
Direct-sells company Amway is also under pressure from the gay community after LGBT activist Fred Karger obtained the company’s president’s tax records revealing that he’d donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund. Karger called for a boycott of Amway last Thursday.
Couple Tyler Savage, left, and Larry Farris kiss at a Dallas Chick-fil-A Friday, Aug. 3, for National Same-sex Kiss-in Day. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)
Couple Tyler Savage and Larry Farris arrived at Chick-fil-A off Northwest Highway Friday afternoon to quietly protest the company’s anti-gay stance – and to kiss.
Various media outlets swarmed the couple and two others who were present when Instant Tea was there for the noon hour.
Farris, known as “Larry The Fairy” in the Dallas LGBT community, said the National Same-sex Kiss-in Day at Chick-fil-A Friday was not about the company President Dan Cathy’s remarks about gay marriage, but about the company giving funds to anti-gay groups.
“I’m not going to spend money here anymore. Why would I want to fund companies that are anti-me?” he said. “Free speech is free speech. I don’t care what he says, it’s the money that he’s donating.”
Equality Texas utilized Wednesday’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day as a donation day for those who do not support the chicken chain.
Donors were encouraged to give $6.50, the cost of a chicken sandwich meal, to the organization, but other amounts could also be donated.
Deputy Executive Director Chuck Smith said 281 donors gave money Wednesday totaling $4,350. In addition, five new donors signed up to give monthly.
He said the funds would most likely go to fund the Equality Project, which is a public education program that travels across Texas.
Smith said he was surprised with the media coverage about the appreciation day that focused primarily on the company’s right to freedom of speech. He said members and allies of the LGBT community are not criticizing the freedom of speech, but the message that was behind the president’s recent comments and the actions of the company by donating to anti-gay organizations.
“No one is questioning Chick-fil-A or Dan Cathy’s right to free speech,” he said. “This is about disagreeing with them giving millions of dollars to fund discrimination and homophobia.”
A Texas lesbian activist donned a cow costume Wednesday with her wife in tow to protest Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay views.
Just Kusko stood outside an Austin Chick-fil-A with a sign that read “Don’t hate the homooo!” She publicized her protest plan on Facebook and posted pictures, which went viral.
“These pictures have really taken off,” she told The Advocate. “And what’s funny is, it all started as a simple Facebook status. I was just sick and tired of hearing about how Chick-Fil-A could promote such hate, denouncing me as a human being. Seeing all of my friends comments on Facebook just broke my heart. And to think, of all those chicken sandwiches I ate. I actually was paying for my own demise.”
Wednesday was designated as Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and Dallas residents flocked to area restaurants, according to The Dallas Morning News. A nationwide same-sex kiss-in day is planned for Friday.
Equality Texas is asking those who will no longer eat at Chick-fil-A to donate the cost of sandwich meal to their organization. The recommended donation is $6.50 but other amounts can also be donated.
Upset about the angry reaction from LGBT advocates, Jeffress said “the liberals have gone into a frenzy.” Indeed, they have, with a same-sex kiss-in day planned for Aug. 3. That nationwide event is only two days after Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day Aug. 1, of which you’ll be sure to find Jeffress and his many followers.
When he was pastor at First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls in 1998, he tried to eliminate gay-themed booksfrom the city’s public library. And after joining First Baptist in Dallas in 2008, he sparked protests with a controversial sermon advertised on the church’s marquee, “Why Gay is Not O.K.”
But supporting Chick-Fil-A isn’t about gay bashing for Jeffress. Sure, it’s not.
Alumnus Marlon Figueroa, who is gay, said the event shouldn’t have occurred because it is inappropriate during the recent controversy with the chicken chain over gay marriage and President Dan Cathy’s anti-gay comments. He said he wants TCU to end its relationship with Chick-fil-A and not partner with the company in the future.
“I think that TCU represents a lot of people and by partnering with TCU it’s alienating a lot of people,” he said. “Our values to be inclusive are not in line with Chick-fil-A.”
Aaron Hampton, president of TCU’s Gay-Straight Alliance, told Instant Tea that the partnership sent the wrong message to students.
“It’s not just about local businesses partnering with TCU, it’s about TCU working with an organization that works to deny equal rights to citizens,” he said. “So by working with them it sends a message to TCU students that while TCU is supposedly ‘open,’ they appeal to the masses and do not stand firm in their assertion that the campus is a safe place to discuss ideas and not have some ideas shoved down people’s throats.”
TCU’s Director of Communications Lisa Albert told Instant Tea in an email that the event was to promote the university’s entry into the Big 12 Conference.
“TCU is promoting its entrance into the Big 12 through a variety of events planned months ago,” she wrote. “The University does not support political or personal statements associated with any of our event hosts.”
TCU, which is affiliated with but not governed by the Disciples of Christ church, has been progressive recently and made strides with LGBT students, said the Rev. Steve Sprinkle, an openly gay professor at Brite Divinity School on TCU’s campus.
He added that TCU can choose what companies to partner with for events and that the event could’ve been planned before the controversy.
Chick-fil-A will also be giving away products Saturday at Texas Rangers ballpark. Spokesman John Blake said the company is a corporate sponsor of the Rangers and the possibility of disassociating from them “hasn’t been addressed.”
The Texas Rangers were considering filming an “It Gets Better” video last year but Blake said nothing has been planned.
“We’ve talked about doing something that would target bullying but it’s not been one yet,” he said.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is joining Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and others in standing behind Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay bigotry.
Southwestern Baptist, which is part of the Southern Baptist Convention and is one of the largest seminaries in the world with more than 3,500 students, announced in a press release Wednesday that it plans to purchase 200 sandwiches from a Chick-fil-A near its campus on Aug. 1 as part of Huckabee’s “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
“Southwestern Seminary wants to encourage Chick-fil-A’s support of the traditional family and the first amendment right of Dan Cathy to live out his religious beliefs,” said Thomas White, vice president for student services and communications. “We gladly partner with organizations like Chick-fil-A who take a stand for faith, and we will also be providing all of our students with Chick-fil-A sandwiches during our all-campus picnic in September.”
The school plans to purchase the sandwiches beginning at 11:30 a.m. next Wednesday from the Chick-fil-A at 3580 Altamesa Blvd. in Fort Worth.
As we mentioned the other day, LGBT activists are planning same-sex kiss-ins at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country on Friday, Aug. 3.
A Chick-fil-A location in Plano reportedly is among those that have posted signs announcing an alleged Muppets toy recall, after the Jim Henson Co. severed its ties with the chicken chain over its opposition to gay rights.
The above photo from a Chick-fil-A storeannouncing it “voluntarily recalled all of the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Puppet Kids Meal toys due to a possible safety issue” is from a Plano location.
Human Rights Campaign board member Meghan Stabler, who lives in Round Rock, told Instant Tea the sign is from the Plano store at the Willow Bend Mall, where servers were instructed to tell customers that there were safety issues with the toys.
The sign states that “there have not been any cases in which a child has actually been injured, however there have been some reports of children getting their fingers stuck in the holes of the puppets.”
Phone calls to the restaurant were not answered.
The Jim Henson Co. announced that it would sever ties with Chick-fil-A after its President Dan Cathy again made anti-gay comments last week and expressed continued support for “traditional family values.” Henson Co. CEO Lisa Henson is a supporter of marriage equality and announced that the company would donate money from Chick-fil-A to GLAAD.
Meanwhile, former Dallasite Carly McGehee, who attended Flower Mound High School, has created the event“National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick Fil A,” scheduled for Aug. 3. McGehee, who now lives in New York, said she has boycotted the company since 2010 when she found out it funds anti-gay groups.