Swiss chocolatier who’s against same-sex marriage insists he can’t be homophobic because he has gay employees

Swiss chocolatier Läderach

The CEO of premium Swiss chocolatier Läderach has defended anti-gay comments about same-sex marriage, saying he can’t be homophobic because he employs gay people.

Johannes Läderach, an evangelical Christian and head of Swiss chocolatier Läderach, opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights and is a member of the anti-LGBT+, anti-abortion organisation Christianity for Today. His father is the group’s president.

According to SwissInfo, Christianity for Today has also campaigned against sex before and outside marriage, pornography, the musical Jesus Christ Superstar and Harry Potter.

The LGBT+ community in Switzerland has been calling for a boycott of the chocolate shops, and a flashmob chanting “chocolate makes you happy, not homophobia and racism” gathered outside a Läderach branch in Zug in December. Same-sex couples in the flashmob took turns kissing outside the store.

In October 2019, a brand of the chocolate shop in Basel had to be evacuated after a protester let off a stink bomb.

Swiss chocolatier Läderach

Protesters kiss outside the Läderach store in Zug. (Radio Pilatus)

In an interview with the newspaper NZZ am Sonntagexternal, Läderach made a feeble attempt to defend his views, and said that he couldn’t be homophobic because he employed gay people. 

He said: “I understand it if people value a woman’s right to choose more than an unborn child’s right to life. But I ask for understanding for my opinion. I’m allowed to have a different opinion.

“No one at Läderach is homophobic – neither the management nor the staff. We have homosexuals working for us. We don’t ask about it. Läderach has a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination.”

The 33-year-old Swiss chocolatier added that he would not be changing his views.

He continued: “I don’t want to stop fighting for my Christian values just because we’re having success as a company.

“Ultimately what counts is not how much profit we make but whether we stand by our convictions.”