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Facing Backlash, First Chick-fil-A Abroad Closes After Only Eight Days

As the brand launches its first location in the UK, it is already embroiled in controversy for anti-LGBTQ+ ties.

You know what they say—you can take the chicken out of the U.S., but you can’t take the homophobia out of the chicken. Like that family member that you love but always fight over politics with at Thanksgiving, popular franchise Chick-fil-A has landed in hot water once again for allying itself with an anti-LGBTQ+ organization. 

According to Business Insider, the brand’s first permanent location in the U.K. is serving up southern-style fried chicken sandwiches with a side of controversy. Eater London reported that after only eight days, the Reading location in Berkshire, England was forced to close its doors following pressure from droves of protestors, local gay rights groups and media. To say the least, this is not a great start to what was looking to be a much larger European expansion.

The link between Chick-fil-A and anti-LGBTQ+ organizations that spurred protests in the U.K. stems from the National Christian Foundation, a large Christian charity that distributes millions of dollars annually to various groups. Here’s the kicker: Some of these groups are designated as hate groups, including a Christian organization in Uganda that is connected with pastor Scott Lively. Mother Jones reported that Lively had a hand in pushing anti-gay law in Uganda—a bill that threaten’s the country’s LGBTQ community to this day.

Chick-fil-A’s history of dubious donations is no secret, but it hasn’t stopped consumers in the states from frequently ranking the brand highly in terms of product, service and customer satisfaction. The brand is even beloved by Gen-Z, lauded the most progressive generation yet by Teen Vogue.

While the U.K. closing is certainly bad press for the brand, it also points to a vast difference in international consumer demographics across the pond. It seems that Chick-fil-A’s unflattering political alignment just won’t fly in the U.K., even when it's breaded, crispy and topped with pickles.