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Burger King takes aim at Chick-fil-A with donation to LGBTQ group

TODAY logo TODAY 6/7/2021 Chrissy Callahan
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Burger King is serving its Ch'King sandwich with a side of shade this June.

To kick off Pride Month, the fast-food chain recently sent out a series of tweets announcing that it will donate 40 cents from the purchase of every Ch'King sold this month (up to a maximum donation of $250,000) to the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest LGBTQ advocacy group.

Plenty of companies are lending their support to similar causes during Pride Month, but Burger King's tweets stood out for one reason in particular: As part of the message, the chain took a not-so-subtle jab at Chick-fil-A by saying "during #pride month (even on Sundays) your chicken sandwich craving can do good!" with a glancing-eye emoji.

Chick-fil-A's CEO Dan Cathy is known for having strong Christian beliefs and closes the restaurant every Sunday. Over the years, the fast-food chain has been criticized for its support of anti-LGBTQ organizations, and Cathy has been criticized for his stance against same-sex marriage, as well as his family's history of donating to anti-gay groups.

When reached by TODAY Food, a Chick-fil-A spokesperson declined to comment on Burger King's tweet, but the subtweet seemed to leave a lasting impression on many on Twitter.

Some people were impressed to see a brand supporting LGBTQ causes through both words and actions.

Still, a few social media users said they prefer Chick-fil-A's chicken.

Others took a more balanced approach to the debate.

A Burger King spokesperson told TODAY the company is excited to support a great cause this month.

"This is a community we love dearly and have proudly supported over the years, so we couldn’t miss an opportunity to take action and help shine a light on the important conversation happening," the said in an emailed statement.

Related: “Chick-fil-A investors, employees and customers can greet today’s announcement with cautious optimism," an LGBTQ advocacy group said.

In recent years, Chick-fil-A critics have urged the wildly popular chain to stop donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations. In 2019, the company announced it would be making changes to its charitable giving in 2020 and stop funding several controversial groups. The announcement came after several LGBTQ protests at the opening of the United Kingdom's first Chick-fil-A.

Despite Chick-fil-A's promise to stop supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations, many of the chain's critics continue to oppose its efforts to expand its locations across the country. In September 2020, Chick-fil-A announced that it would no longer be seeking a San Antonio airport location after a long battle that had many city council leaders opposing the move.

Related: The controversy started in March 2019, when the City Council banned the fast-food chain from its airport, citing a "legacy of anti-LGBT behavior."

In April, Chick-fil-A announced that it would be opening a new location in New Orleans, a city known for its love of its competitor Popeyes, and some residents weren't thrilled, with many citing the company's past support of anti-LGBTQ causes.

Early last week, The Daily Beast published a report titled "Christian Billionaires Are Funding a Push to Kill the Equality Act," claiming that wealthy Christians are trying to block the act, which would "make it illegal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in most settings."

"The source of much of that money, according to a review of tax filings by allied non-profits and some accidental public disclosures provided to The Daily Beast, is the National Christian Charitable Foundation (NCF), the nation’s sixth-largest charity and one of the biggest bankrollers of organizations currently on the front lines in the fight against the Equality Act," the article reported, adding that Cathy was on the list of donors.

But a Business Insider article published Friday reported that Chick-fil-A itself has not donated to the cause in over a decade and pointed out that other fast-food chains like Wendy's, McDonald's and Taco Bell have all contributed funds to politicians who oppose the Equality Act.

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

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