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World's most controversial chicken sandwich hits the Highlands

Chick-fil-A has opened an outlet within Macdonald Aviemore Resort.

Chicken: Samuel Truett Cathy founded the fast-food chain in 1946.
Chicken: Samuel Truett Cathy founded the fast-food chain in 1946. Chick-fil-A

A chicken-sandwich showdown may be on the menu after a controversial fast-food chain opened its first Scottish outlet, attracting the attention of protesters who have worked to boycott Chick-fil-A outlets around the world.

The chain's American founders have donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT organisations, which has led to protests and boycotts.

In response, the company stated that its charity foundation "has always focused on youth and education" and has "never donated with the purpose of supporting a social or political agenda".

Macdonald Aviemore Resort: Chick-fil-A has opened an outlet at the hotel.
Macdonald Aviemore Resort: Chick-fil-A has opened an outlet at the hotel. Google 2019

The chain's first UK outlet in Reading faced immediate backlash when it opened earlier this month, which resulted in the store's landlords opting not to extend its lease past its six-month pilot period.

"Campaigners pelted the Reading branch with protests and petitions calling for its removal. A demonstration last weekend even saw RuPaul's Drag Race UK's Sum Ting Wong show her support," wrote LGBT newsite PinkNews.

Similar tactics have been employed at the chain's only Canadian outlet, with its Toronto branch facing frequent protest and calls for the chain to "cluck off" and leave town - despite persistence lineups that stretch outside the store.

In response, Chick-fil-A claim that the Reading outlet "was always set to be a six month lease" as part of a longer-term strategy as the company looks to expand its "international presence".

With the Reading victory fresh in mind, activists could now turn their attention to the Scottish outlet that opened around the same time within Macdonald Aviemore Resort.

The hotel, within Cairngorms National Park, is a four-star resort that houses a cinema and retail outlet.

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson said: "Chick-fil-A is always evaluating potential new locations in the hope of serving customers great food and award-winning service.

"The Macdonald Aviemore Resort gives us an opportunity to build our knowledge, continue to learn and gain a stronger understanding of local consumer tastes and preferences as part of our ongoing exploration."

A spokesperson for Macdonald Aviemore Resort added: "Chick-fil-A is an enormously successful business, with over 2300 restaurants in the US, and we are pleased to have them invest in the Aviemore economy, where the restaurant is proving extremely popular.

"It's vital to underline that, in both our recruitment and our customer care, we treat everyone with respect, regardless of race, religion, sexuality or gender."

Fast-food: A Chick-fil-A outlet in Springfield, Virginia.
Fast-food: A Chick-fil-A outlet in Springfield, Virginia. Getty Images

Controversy

  • Samuel Truett Cathy, a devout Baptist, founded the fast-food chain in 1946.
  • Over the years the company's charitable foundation has funded conservative Christian groups, including Exodus International - a now-defunct group known for "conversion therapy".
  • In 2012, CEO Dan Cathy made a series of public comments that opposed same-sex marriage. Chick-fil-A was forced to issue a statement, saying: "Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena." However, the company has continued to support charities that discriminate against LGBT people.
  • Tax filings from 2017 showed that the company donated more than $1.8m to anti-LGBT charities through its foundation, which included $1.6m to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an organisation that requires staff to accept "sexual purity" and is vehemently opposed same-sex marriage.
  • It also gave $6000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, which teaches boys that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values".

The Chick-fil-A spokesperson stressed that the company does not donate to support conversion therapy.

They highlighted that the company's foundation gave $9.9m in donations to communities across America in 2017.

The donation to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes was used to support summer sport camps for inner-city youths. Participating children were not required to be a member of the FCA and did not sign any pledges.

The spokesperson also stated that the company no longer donates to the Paul Anderson Youth Home following the emergence of a historic blog post from 2010 that "does not meet Chick-fil-A's commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all".

The spokesperson added: "We hope our guests will see that Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on serving great food and hospitality, and does not have a social or political agenda.

"We are represented by more than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs, and we welcome everyone."

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