Chick-fil-A DEI program sparks conservative outrage on Twitter

Erick McReynolds, longtime Chick-fil-A employee, promoted to VP of DEI in 2021
Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta in 2019
Posted at 7:02 AM, May 31, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Chick-fil-A seems to be ruffling some feathers with the news that it has an executive in charge of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Conservatives on social media were outraged and called for a boycott of the Atlanta-based chicken sandwich chain.

The controversy seems to have originated with a tweet from conservative political strategist Joey Mannarino, who took to Twitter claiming that Chick-fil-A had "just hired" a vice president of DEI.

"This is bad. Very bad," he wrote. "I don't want to have to boycott. Are we going to have to boycott?"

His post included a link to Chick-fil-A's DEI page on its website.

"Chick-fil-A restaurants have long been recognized as a place where people know they will be treated well," Erick McReynolds, Chick-fil-A's vice president of DEI, is quoted as saying on the page. "Modeling care for others starts in the restaurant, and we are committed to ensuring mutual respect, understanding and dignity everywhere we do business. These tenets are good business practice and crucial to fulfilling our corporate purpose."

Here's the thing, though.

McReynolds, who graduated from Florida A&M and has worked for Chick-fil-A since 2007, was promoted to the role in November 2021, according to his LinkedIn page.

Many conservatives have rallied around Chick-fil-A for its shared values, including closing on Sundays and CEO Dan T. Cathy's outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage. However, in 2019, the company stopped donating money to organizations criticized for being anti-LGBTQ+.