As if Chick-fil-A needed another public relations headache, it's become the target of a new paordy site created in protest of company president and COO Dan Cathy's opposition to gay marriage.
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The Chick-fil-A Foundation is a website cleverly designed to mimic the real Chick-fil-A site, except it's full of satirical content that defends Cathy's comments and calls on gay people to renounce their homosexuality.
Visitors are even greeted with a coupon for an unorthodox deal -- gay people are asked to "trade their homosexuality" for a free Original Chicken Sandwich. The faux coupon "only applies to persons currently choosing to be gay" who "renounce homosexuality," and is only good for one sandwich "per saved person."
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The "Foundation's" staff includes "John," "Robert" and "Harvey the Cow" -- likely a reference to Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California (the joke has numerous layers, as the real Chick-fil-A uses cows in its advertising campaigns).
A satirical letter posted by "Dan Cathy" says, "If a man married to a man or a woman married to a woman is your definition of a family and you are looking for a place to grab a quick bite to eat, I would encourage you to look elsewhere because that is not Chick-fil-A's definition."
There's also a Twitter account, @CFAcares, tied into the satirical campaign. It's mostly been tweeting at politicians who oppose gay rights including Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, whose husband has been accused of offering "gay therapy" services.
@MicheleBachmann Your husband's work is so important.If it wasn't for him Harvey the Cow would still be a lost boy.Thank you!
— Chickfila Foundation (@CFACares) July 27, 2012
Mashable has reached out to the creators of the site to learn more about their motivation, and we'll update this post when we hear back.
Chick-fil-A has been the subject of heated debate both offline and on the web over gay marriage and free speech since the real Cathy made anti-gay comments earlier this month.
Gay rights activists have called for a boycott of the restaurant chain, some prominent public officials including the mayors of Chicago and Boston have criticized Cathy's statements and business partners such as the Jim Henson company have ended their arraignments with the fast food chain.
Others have come Cathy's defense, arguing that he should be allowed to share his opinion without inciting vitriol towards himself and his company. Republican Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, has declared next Wednesday to be "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" in support of Cathy's right to free speech.
I hope @chickfila is planning to sell a lot of chicken next Wed.Even people who disagree with the CEO, agree with his right to say it.
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) July 26, 2012
The Chick-fil-A Foundation parody follows in the footsteps of Arctic Ready, a craftily designed parody built by Greenpeace and The Yes Men to highlight what they argue is Shell's lackluster record in environmental and human rights protection.
Do you think the Chick-fil-A Foundation online parody is an effective way to make a statement? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
This story originally published on Mashable here.