There’s nothing less tasteful than a company that uses the Bible to defend its anti-gay policies and then bears what seems to be false witness. Because of Chick-fil-A’s condemnations of marriage equality advocates, the Jim Henson Company announced that it would not engage in future partnerships with the restaurant and would donate proceeds from the current puppet toy partnership to GLAAD. How did Chick-fil-A respond? By “voluntarily recalling” the toys because of a supposed safety complaint. This sign has been circulating the web from a store in Texas:
We apologize for any inconvenience but as of 7/19/2012 Chick-fil-A has voluntarily recalled all of the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Puppet Kids Meal toys due to a possible safety issue. Please be advised that there have not been any cases in which a child has actually been injured, however there have been some reports of children getting their fingers stuck in the holes of the puppets. We are offering a substitution of a complimentary kids icedream cone in its place until a replacement toy is available.
Another store in Virginia posted a similar explanation on its Facebook page. Both confirm that the recall took effect just one day before the Henson company’s announcement. ThinkProgress obtained this official comment from Tiffany Greenway, Corporate Public Relations for Chick-fil-A, confirming a nationwide withdrawal:
We can confirm that it is true that Chick-fil-A voluntarily withdrew the Jim Henson kids meal toys nationwide because of a potential safety concern. This is unrelated to the Jim Henson announcement.
As indicated by the sign, this “potential safety concern” seems to entail children getting their fingers stuck in the finger puppets. Given the company’s history of duplicitous public relations in regards to its anti-gay controversy, its decision to decline offering further explanation for the safety concern, and its admission that there hasn’t actually been any injury, this claim is highly dubious. Despite the company’s claim to the contrary, the timing and nature of this decision still raises the question of whether it is retaliation for the Henson Company breaking ties and supporting GLAAD. Regardless, Chick-fil-A is doing little to minimize its current anti-gay PR crisis.