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Jim Henson Co. Severs Ties With Chick-Fil-A

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The Jim Henson Company, currently headed by Lisa Henson, daughter of the late Jim, has formally announced that they will be severing all financial relationships they have with Chick-Fil-A, which is presumably a relief to the hundreds of chickens under the employ of the Henson Co.

Ok, jokes aside, this is actually a firm and explicit stance against Chick-Fil-A’s anti-marriage equality stance, with Henson likely brought to the tipping point by the confident admission of Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy, that as far as funding organizations that have lobbied not just against marriage rights for gay and bisexual people but also against legislation that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity goes, his company is guilty as charged.

Said Cathy in an interview with the Baptist Press last Monday: “Well, guilty as charged… We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.” It was discovered in early 2011 that Chick-Fil-A had given more than $8 million to at least two charities that had, among other things, campaigned against Proposition 8 in Californian, against anti-discrimination legislation in Pennsylvania, and supported other like-minded lobbying organizations such as Focus on the Family and Eagle Forum.

Said the Jim Henson Company on their Facebook last Friday: “The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors.  Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Company is in the midst of an arrangement for Henson-branded puppet kits to be given out with child meals at Chick-Fil-A.

The donation is a good touch, especially because I’m surprised to learn that this is actually the second time Henson has partnered with Chick-Fil-A since the news broke last year that the company was financially backing anti-gay rights organizations. There’s certainly a difference between a company that has seen pushback (on college campuses and the entire city of Boston, for example) since its political leanings were discovered and un-apologized-for but that may not have acted on them again in a mere year and a half, and a company whose president has come out and stated unequivocally that he intends to continue such practices. One of those differences appears to be whether or not the Muppets will give you the time of day. And while I feel like I’m betraying my inner child by pointing at imperfections in the Jim Henson Company, it really should have been the case for both situations.

(via The Hollywood Reporter.)

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