Scores of people across the country sought to make a political statement while scarfing down chicken and waffle fries on "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" Wednesday, while others are swearing off the fried food altogether. It's just the latest in a controversy surrounding the fast food chain, which began with the company's president commenting on his definition of marriage.
In Crystal City, Robert Settel is getting his first taste of Chick-fil-A . He says it's no coincidence. "I'm really here to support Chick-fil-A and any decision or statement the CEO could make," he says.
He's one of many customers stopping at Chick-fil-A stores nationwide supporting comments made by company president and CEO Dan Cathy last month. In an interview with Baptist Press, Cathy said his company backs what he calls the "traditional family" — a statement that many felt was exclusionary.
Gay rights groups, among others, called for boycotts of the chain's eateries, while supporters praised the company's stance. One of those disturbed by Cathy's comments is Stephanie Acree, who says she used to eat Chick-fil-A, but has since reconsidered. "I won't be going to Chick-fil-A anymore based on the statements that were made about traditional families and traditional marriage," says Acree.
Payne Horning also doesn't know if he'll be going back. "Just today I won't participate, but in the future it will have to be a decision I'll have to make," says Horning.
Cristel Russel, a marketing professor at American University, says while consumers can easily boycott Chick-fil-A, their decision to do so raises larger questions.
"Consumers cannot possibly be aware of everything that companies do, so they have to rely on their current knowledge," says Russel. "Because we buy so many things every day, we can't possibly know all about the companies."
In another form of protest, same-sex couples are planning a public display of affection at the restaurant chain on Friday.
WAMU is licensed by American University