The Chick-fil-A restaurant on Sunset Boulevard at Highland Avenue in Hollywood finds itself located in the middle of a large gay population as the chain is under fire for its very public stance against gay marriage.
So Jeremiah Cillpam, who owns the Hollywood location, is trying to distance his restaurant from the rapidly growing controversy. In a Facebook post, he stresses that each Chick-fil-A franchise is independently owned and operated.'
'I know that some guests are upset by comments made by Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A Inc. He has made it clear to me those were his personal views and that his intent was not to speak on behalf of any Chick-fil-A customers.'
Cathy said in an interview with the Baptist Press last week that the company is 'guilty as charged' when it comes to its opposition to gay marriage. Its charitable arm has also donated millions to anti-gay organizations in recent years.
Cillpam (standing on the right in photo) said on Facebook that he is running his business apolitically: 'We strive to ensure that every guest receives amazing food and service regardless of belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.'
He added: 'In our hiring practices, we would never discriminate bsed upon sexual orientation or religious beliefs.'
As of Friday afternoon PST, Cillpam's post had generated nearly 700 comments - some supportive, some not.
Among those commenting was Jim Key, chief public affairs officer for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center which is located just a few blocks away from the restaurant.
'Your company - the company you support with your franchise fees - gives millions to organizations working to deprive LGBT of our rights, including the freedom to marry and protection from workplace discrimination,' Key wrote. 'Contrary to your statement, Chick-fil-A's president made it quite clear he was speaking for the company with his 'guilty as charged' statements. You, as a franchise owner, are an important part of that company. In fact, the company wouldn’t exist without franchisees.'
Key added: 'If you truly care about your community, which includes a huge number of LGBT people, convince Chick-fil-A to stop funding anti-LGBT organizations and to start supporting full equality for LGBT people. Until then, don't expect us to patronize your restaurant or those of any other franchisees.'