On June 10th, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, posted a picture on Twitter of how his debit payment service from Square works. He was at a Chick-fil-A. Soledad O’Brien, CEO of Starfish Media, noticed it and tweeted back about how that was an interesting place to be during Pride month. Jack responded that he forgot Chick-fil-A’s background. From here, the controversy took off.
Pride month is LGBTQ Pride Month. LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated in June each year and started in 1970 after the Stonewall Riots that occurred in New York City in 1969. More than a celebration, LGBTQ Pride Month is a protest and call for continued political activism and change.
Now to Chick-fil-A. In 2012, Chick-fil-A’s CEO, Dan Cathy, stated that he is a supporter of the biblical definition of marriage. Part of their corporate culture is rooted in the Bible. After this statement, many protestors expressed their concerns that Chick-fil-A is anti-gay. Cathy later called the remark a mistake and emphasized that they treat everyone with respect no matter their sexual orientation or gender.
- Dorsey’s tweets were effective in alienating two groups – LGBTQ and Christian groups. LGBTQ groups are unhappy with his visit to Chick-fil-A during June, and Christians are dissatisfied with his negative characterization of Chick-fil-A’s background.
- The Stonewall Riots served as a tipping point that led to a long march toward greater LGBTQ rights and recognition. Almost 50 years later, progress may seem slow.
- A seemingly innocent promotion ignited a controversy and no further comment reactions from Dorsey and Cathy. No further elaboration or discussion, letting it slide into a shallow social media debate.
Activators Quest & Actions (Q&A):
- Is an opportunity being missed to engage in a more meaningful conversation about LGBTQ rights? If you were Jack Dorsey, what would you say now?
- What can business leaders do to prevent becoming red and blue companies? How are these actions reflected with customers and employees?
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