Is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg the peacemaker that helps bury the hatchet between Chick-fil-A and the LGBTQ community?
The openly gay 2020 presidential candidate appeared on The Breakfast Club, a radio show based in New York, on Tuesday, where he was asked by host Charlamagne tha God if there was a contradiction between his like of Eminem’s music and the controversial rapper’s past homophobic lyrics.
“A lot of us, especially recently, have been trying to figure out when there’s artists that we respect their art, but when there’s something in it, or something in them, that we cannot get on board with, how do we handle that?” said Buttigieg, adding that just because he like Eminem’s music doesn’t mean he excuses Eminem’s past homophobia.
“What about Chick-fil-A? You like Chick-fil-A?” Charlamagne asked.
“I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken,” Buttigieg responded.
“Maybe, if nothing else, I can build that bridge,” Buttigieg quipped. “Maybe I’ll become in a position to broker that peace deal.”
Charlamagne said he didn’t like extremes on either side and wants people to be more nuanced when talking about serious issues.
“We’ve got to find a way to use our identities to reach other people,” Buttigieg added. “To me, there’s two things that happen when you are conscious of your identity. One is it turns into all these ways of separating ourselves from each other, and it turns into one big ‘You don’t know me.’ The other way we can do it is we can say, ‘I’ve got this experience. You’ve got that experience. What can we talk about that brings us together? What do we have in common?
“Because I have no clue what it’s like to walk in the shoes of so many other people,” he added. “But I can talk about some of the pieces of what I carry with me, and see if it rhymes with their life experience. I think good art has that, good music has that, good literature has that —
“Good chicken sandwiches,” interjected Charlamagne.
“Good chicken sandwiches, and good politics,” said Buttigieg. “Good politics ought to have that quality to it. And I think we’ve got to get back to that before this current presidency just completely tears us apart.”
Chick-fil-A has previously been criticized by LGBTQ advocacy organizations for CEO Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to same-sex marriage and its corporate donations to various anti-LGBTQ groups, including the Marriage & Family Legacy Fund, the National Christian Foundation, the Eagle Forum, the Family Research Council, the Salvation Army, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a religious organization that requires its members to adhere to take a pledge of “sexual purity” in which they promise not to engage in extramarital sex, including same-sex relations.
Last year, New Jersey’s Rider University barred Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant on campus due to the company’s past stances on LGBTQ issues, which eventually prompted one of the university’s deans to resign from her position in protest.
Last week, the San Antonio City Council voted to deny Chick-fil-A a space inside San Antonio International Airport, citing the company’s 2017 donations to organizations that discourage or speak out against homosexuality or same-sex marriage.
Watch Buttigieg’s interview with The Breakfast Club below (exchange starts at 16:19):