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HomeBusinessCracker Barrel Has ‘Fallen’? Folksy Southern Food Chain Becomes Latest Unlikely Target Of Anti-LGBTQ Crusade

Cracker Barrel Has ‘Fallen’? Folksy Southern Food Chain Becomes Latest Unlikely Target Of Anti-LGBTQ Crusade

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Forbes Business Cracker Barrel Has ‘Fallen’? Folksy Southern Food Chain Becomes Latest Unlikely Target Of Anti-LGBTQ Crusade Conor Murray Forbes Staff I’m an explainers and trends reporter for Forbes. Following Jun 9, 2023, 03:59pm EDT | Press play to listen to this article! Got it! Updated Jun 9, 2023, 05:14pm EDT Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin Topline The latest target of online radical conservative furor this Pride Month is Cracker Barrel, the Southern-themed restaurant chain, after it voiced generic support for Pride and diversity, equity and inclusion—a stench in the nostrils of self-appointed moral arbiters of the universe and hard-right extremists, although the company once notoriously discriminated against its LGBTQ employees before it openly supported Pride. The phrase ‘Cracker Barrel has fallen’ became an instant meme on social media.

Tim Boyle/Getty Images Key Facts The Texas Family Project, a conservative organization, stoked the online anger against Cracker Barrel Thursday afternoon by tweeting screenshots of its Pride and diversity, equity and inclusion statements from its website. “We take no pleasure in reporting that @CrackerBarrel has fallen,” the Texas Family Project tweeted , though this phrase was quickly mocked and turned into a meme on social media. Cracker Barrel also posted a picture of a rainbow-colored rocking chair outside one of its restaurants on Instagram Thursday, stating: “We are excited to celebrate Pride Month with our employees and guests.

” Like many other companies deemed “woke” by conservatives, criticism of Cracker Barrel spread among right-wing social media users, some of who said they’d stop supporting the restaurant. Cracker Barrel’s controversy comes a week after Chick-fil-A—a fast-food chain known for its Christian affiliation (and onetime anti-LGBTQ sentiments )—attracted similar online criticism when its 2021 hiring of a DEI vice president circulated on social media. Chief Critics Conservative pundit and BlazeTV Pseudo Intellectual host Lauren Chen urged her more than 500,000 Twitter followers to join her in boycotting Cracker Barrel.

End Wokeness, a right-wing Twitter account with more than a million followers, simply tweeted: “Cracker Barrel went woke. ” The Texas Family Project has also doubled down on their anti-Cracker Barrel stance, tweeting an edited picture of a Cracker Barrel restaurant with the text: “They took this from you. ” (Wonder who “they” are?) Contra Popular internet personality Hank Green, known for cocreating the Crash Course YouTube channel, was among many who mocked the criticism of Cracker Barrel on Twitter.

“Do you think they’d let me get a ‘Cracker Barrel Has Fallen’ tattoo between chemo treatments?” he tweeted . “‘We take no pleasure in reporting that ‘Cracker Barrel has fallen’ might be the funniest sentence ever composed using the English language,” one user tweeted , garnering more than 17,000 likes. Some memes superimposing the figures of Morgan Freeman, Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart from the Olympus Has Fallen film poster over an image of a Cracker Barrel restaurant went viral on Twitter.

Key Background Cracker Barrel has openly supported Pride Month for several years, but in early 1991, the company adopted a policy to cease hiring LGBTQ people and fire those already employed. A company memo reportedly stated hiring those “whose sexual preference fails to demonstrate normal heterosexual values, which have been the foundation of families in our society” was incompatible with the “perceived values of our customer base. ” At least nine gay employees were fired, the New York Times reported in February 1991.

The policy was attacked by gay rights activists. Robert Bray, spokesman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said the policy was unprecedented because while other companies would try to disguise termination of gay employees, Cracker Barrel “codified and institutionalized bigotry and discrimination. ” By March 1991, founder Dan Evins had apologized and said the company had gotten rid of the policy, though Cracker Barrel’s board would not vote to ban discrimination against gay employees until 2002.

Cracker Barrel was given a 15 out of 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, a measure of LGBTQ workplace equality in 2010, though the score increased to 55 in 2011 and to 80 as of the 2022 ranking . The company had another brief LGBTQ-related controversy in 2013 when it pulled Duck Dynasty merchandise from its gift store shelves after its star Phil Robertson made anti-LGBTQ comments. Less than 48 hours later, the company returned these products to shelves in response to backlash.

The company took a firmer stance in support of the LGBTQ community in 2019 when it canceled an event at one of its restaurants that would have been hosted by Grayson Fritts, a pastor who said that LGBTQ people are “worthy of death. ” Tangent In recent weeks, companies have been targeted one after another for their outreach to the LGBTQ community and their commitments to DEI by angry right-wing social media users. The backlash started with Bud Light in April when the company sent a customized beer can to transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney.

Though the can was not available for sale, right-wing critics and media pundits called for a boycott, leading to a dip in sales for the beer brand. Other companies have since come under fire for trans-inclusive marketing, including Nike (which also partnered with Mulvaney), Adidas and Target, which was a victim of misinformation that tuck-friendly swimsuits were sold for children when they were only sold for adults. After the start of Pride Month, some organizations—including the U.

S. Navy, Nascar and Major League Baseball—have come under fire for celebrating the LGBTQ community on their social media profiles. Surprising Fact Cracker Barrel hasn’t only been called “woke” for its support of Pride.

In August 2022, the company stirred controversy after it introduced a plant-based sausage made by Impossible Foods to its menu. The company’s Facebook page was flooded with angry comments about the “woke” menu addition, though some praised the company for appealing to vegan customers. Cracker Barrel responded to the controversy on Instagram, posting a picture of an Impossible sausage and a pork sausage shaking hands.

“Cracker Barrel: Where pork-based and plant-based sausage lovers can breakfast all day in harmony,” the caption reads. Further Reading Kohl’s Becomes Latest Target Of LGBTQ Culture Wars: Here Are All The Others—From Bud Light To Target (Forbes) The New ‘Anti-Woke’ Crusade Targets DEI—And Chick-Fil-A? (Forbes) Navy Removes Pride Month Posts Amid Right-Wing Backlash— Nascar, Major League Baseball Also Targeted (Forbes) Follow me on Twitter . Send me a secure tip .

Conor Murray Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions.


From: forbes
URL: https://www.forbes.com/sites/conormurray/2023/06/09/cracker-barrel-has-fallen-folksy-southern-food-chain-becomes-latest-unlikely-target-of-anti-lgbtq-crusade/

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