Muppets-makers end partnership with Chick-Fil-A over marriage stance

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Creators of the Muppets have called off future partnerships with US fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A followings its donations to anti-gay groups and opposition to marriage equality for gay couples.

The Jim Henson Company confirmed at the end of last week it would be cooling the relationship after its current partnership, in which children’s meals come with a customisable puppet, the Huffington Post reports, although the famous Muppets themselves do not appear in the restaurants.

A company statement said: “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.”

Chick-Fil-A has been suffering after its chief operating officer, Dan Cathy, said the chain was “guilty as charged” on opposition to equal marriage rights.

The chicken chain has given millions of dollars to groups including the Family Research Council, Exodus International and Focus on the Family.

The mayor of Boston has joined criticism, saying Chick-fil-A would now find it “very difficult” to open in Boston.

He said: “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion.”

The company itself released a statement last week saying: “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honour, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner/operators.

“Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”