Metro Weekly

Conservatives Lash Out After Cracker Barrel Celebrates Pride Month

The Southern-themed restaurant chain receives blowback on social media following a Facebook post celebrating inclusivity.

Cracker Barrel front porch. – Photo: Facebook.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, an American chain restaurant based in Lebanon, Tennessee, has come under criticism from conservatives after sharing a Facebook post celebrating Pride Month.

The restaurant, which is known for its menu of traditional southern foods and its country-style decor, with the interior resembling an old-fashioned general store, surprised many of its conservative fans by supporting the LGBTQ community.

In their post, the restaurant chain said they are “excited to celebrate Pride Month with our employees and guests,” and invited customers to enjoy their limited-edition rainbow-colored rockers, adding: “Everyone is always welcome at our table.”

Many staunch conservatives on Facebook and Twitter responded to the message of acceptance with anger and hate. 

Texas Family Project, an anti-LGBTQ group tweeted that “Cracker Barrel has fallen. A once family-friendly establishment has caved to the mob.” The phrase “Cracker Barrel has fallen” went viral on the social media platform shortly afterwards. 

“Cracker Barrel, why do you hate your patrons? How did you come to despise your consumer base?” another Twitter user replied. “You have lost your mind if you think the thousands of people who drive out of their way to eat your middling food want this. Never again. No more bus loads for you.” 


But many of the negative responses to the restaurant’s inclusivity were met with support from other Twitter users, proud of the company’s willingness to be accepting.

 “Honestly, if your bigoted movement can’t even win over the f*****g Cracker Barrel it’s probably time to pack up and go home,”  Twitter user Ari Drennen replied.

The post in support of Pride Month marks a departure from Cracker Barrel’s early history, when the company issued an internal memo calling for employees to be dismissed if they did not display “normal heterosexual values,” which allegedly led to the firing of at least 11 gay employees at various stores throughout the South.

For 10 years, starting in 1992, the company’s shareholders repeatedly voted down efforts to add sexual orientation to the company’s nondiscrimination policy. The restaurant chain was also criticized by LGBTQ groups for lacking inclusive health and partner benefits throughout much of the first two decades of the 21st century.

In 2019, after adopting many policy changes, the company earned an “80” on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which serves as a benchmarking tool on corporations’ pro-LGBTQ policies, practices, and benefits. It has continued to boast a score of 80 in subsequent years, including on the most recent index.

This show of support also potentially comes with risk to the company, as other major corporations like Budweiser and Target have experienced financial backlash and calls for boycotts after embracing the LGBTQ community in different ways. In Bud Light’s case, a partnership with a transgender TikTok influencer for a social media post was the incendiary event, while Target was forced to remove some of its Pride-themed merchandise from store shelves after employees were accosted or threatened with violence by anti-LGBTQ protesters.

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