Public Statements on Controversial Issues
The society today comprises different issues, some that are controversial, and some that are widely accepted. The controversial issues in society are sensitive; therefore, addressing such requires caution to ensure that no party is offended in the process, and in a way that could lead to sanctions. In the United States, these issues are common, and various public statements on most controversial issues have elicited immense public reaction. This paper will analyse the context of the statements of Chic-fil-A’s president on his personal stand on same-sex marriage, as well as his company’s stand on the same in mid-2012.
The president and CEO of Chic-fil-A made anti-gay remarks on two major occasions. First, while the Biblical Recorder, a Baptist journal, was interviewing him in July 2012, he claimed that him and his organization support the family unit and consider the traditional, biblical marriage and family as ideal. On another occasion, during a radio interview in June 2012, CEO Dan Cathy claimed that America was welcoming God’s judgement by allowing same-sex marriages. According to Dan Cathy, by choosing same-sex marriage, Americans think they know better than God knows, and so go against God’s laid down rules. These remarks evoked a lot of controversy among Americans, and some chose to take actions of registering their disgust at this CEO’s remarks. While the same-sex couples arranged for kiss-ins in the Chic-fil-A restaurants, others planned to buy their food en-masse, and others planned for boycotts. This however, should not have appeared strange to Americans, as the Chic-fil-A has in the past funded organizations fighting same-sex marriages (Hopkins).
This is a case of discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Chic-fil-A’s CEO takes part in a form discrimination against the gay people. Although he does not discriminate against them in actions, for example forbidding them to eat at his restaurants, he discriminates them verbally. When he declares his stand and his organization’s stand against gays, he clearly shows that he does not like their practice, and would rather they change and become heterosexuals. This becomes discriminatory as his remarks show that he does not prefer gays (Hopkins).
In relation to Chic-fil-A’s CEO anti-gay remarks, an offended man took the steps to publicly register his anguish about the whole situation. He however, used the wrong channel when he went to one of the Chic-fil-A restaurants and yelled at an innocent employee, then went ahead to post a video of this on the internet. This was inappropriate, as the employee was not in any way connected, neither did she influence her boss’ remarks. This qualifies as a case of bullying and harassment, which is liable to prosecution. In this case, this bully intimidated and manipulated an innocent employee. Although this employee later forgave him after announcing his apologies in public, the man could not evade facing the responsibilities for his misguided action, as his company later had him sacked on the grounds of public misconduct (TheYoungTurks).
Public statements made for, or against a specific group of people will evoke public reactions, depending on the nature of the group in question. Therefore, before the pronunciation of such statements, the speakers must be careful to ensure that this does not evoke controversy. In the context of companies, it is beyond doubt that whether they support or do not support same-sex marriage, voicing their stand will most likely evoke public reactions. However, as much as this does not qualify as hate speech or verbal abuse and harassment, then it is right for the practice of freedom of speech. Nonetheless, organizations must be cautious as their public statements on sensitive issues may affect their business adversely.
Social networking today plays a great role in connecting people across the globe. However, despite the benefits it carries, there are vital issues that individuals should watch out for when using social sites such as Facebook. An example is the disclosure of one’s personal information. Availing the date of birth, place of birth, address, among other personal information could be risky to the user. This is like trusting one’s information in the care of others, who could be strangers, as well as third parties. Once gone, privacy never can be retrieved. In addition, posting personal views and opinions that are controversial may get one into problems at their school or workplace. For instance, the man who yelled at the Chick-fil-A’s employee posted his video on the internet, which later went viral, and got him into negative publicity, then losing his job. This is a lesson about what the internet can do. Additionally, not putting personal information may protect one from hackers, kidnappers, robbers, and stalkers (TheYoungTurks).
In conclusion, sensitive and controversial issues in society must be addressed with immense caution. This is because the public will judge one’s sentiments and may use it against them. Therefore, individuals should be cautious of what they speak in public so that it does not qualify as hate speech or discrimination against a specific group. Likewise, company representatives should do the same to prevent involving the company name in controversies that might have detrimental effects on it. Additionally, the internet and social networking is another way through which people exercise their freedom of speech and expression. However, abusing this freedom by engaging in negative acts will lead to sanctions. Therefore, caution and good practice is also required in online communication.
Hopkins Jamie Smith. “Chick-fil-A president’s words on gay marriage spark tempest.” The
Baltimore Sun. July 30 2012. Retrieved <http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-07-30/business/bs-bz-chick-fil-a-marriage-flap-20120730_1_gay-marriage-gay-rights-groups-gay-rights>
TheYoungTurks. “Chick-Fil-A Drive-Through Bully Hassles Employee And Gets Fired.” Aug 3,
2012. Retrieved <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqhjFkfDbcg>
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