Berenstain Bears Authors Keep Their Distance from Chick-fil-A Controversy

After the Jim Henson Company cut their ties with Chick-fil-A due to the chicken chain's anti-gay attitude, the chain decided to hand out Berenstain Bears books with kids' meals instead.

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Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

A Chick-fil-A logo on a take out bag at one of its restaurants on July 28, 2012 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Politicians, customers, the Muppets, and now the Berenstain Bears are roasting Chick-fil-A because of its president’s stance on gay marriage. After the Jim Henson Company cut its ties with the fast food chain last week—and its Muppet finger puppets were coincidentally removed from Chick-fil-A kids’ meals due to “potential safety concerns”—the toys were replaced with the Berenstain Bears books series, featuring the furry cartoon family that has been teaching kids lessons like “the golden rule” for decades.

The Berenstain family, who owns the copyrights to the series, distanced themselves from the controversy, posting a note on their official site:

Our publisher, HarperCollins, is marketing several of their Berenstain Bears titles through a kids’ meal promotion at Chick-fil-A scheduled for August. This program was in development for over a year. We were unaware of any controversy involving Chick-fil-A until July 25.

The Berenstain family does not at this time have control over whether this program proceeds or not. We hope those concerned about this issue will direct their comments toward HarperCollins and Chick-fil-A.

The authors of the books, Jan and Stanley Berenstain, created the series in 1962. Both have since passed away.

Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, confirmed last week that he was against same-sex marriage, saying in a radio interview, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes marriage.’ I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Since, politicians, customers and corporations have all responded. Three mayors — in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco — all publicly voiced that they hoped the chain would stay away from their cities. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum declared August 1 “Chick-fil-A Day,” encouraging supporters of the “traditional family unit” to stop by the restaurant on Wednesday to show their support. Protestors staged kiss-ins at branches across the country. Sarah Palin even tweeted and posted to Facebook a photo of herself and her husband, Todd, patronizing a Chick-fil-A on Monday.

(MORE: Boston Mayor Blocks Chick-fil-A Franchise from City over Homophobic Attitude)

Amidst the protests and the political soapboxing, the Jim Henson Company took the most direct swing at the fast food chain’s potential sales by cutting their ties with Chick-fil-A last week. In an announcement on Facebook on July 20, the company said they would no longer be involved with the fast food chain’s future marketing missions and (perhaps in rebuttal to the millions of dollars Chick-fil-A has given to anti-gay marriage causes) would donate payments they already received from Chick-fil-A to a charity that supports gay rights.

The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and he have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO, is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-fil-A to GLAAD.

READ: Politicians Coast-to-Coast Take Sides on Chick-fil-A’s Gay Marriage Controversy

21 comments
Pat Mitchell
Pat Mitchell

Such a shame Henson ruined my childhood memories. They can kiss my hind end.

deanrd
deanrd

This isn't about "beliefs". It's about dollars and cents. Gay people work. They pay taxes. Just like everyone else, they pay for those bridges and roads and sewers and electrical grid and all the other things that Americans pay for. In fact, when you look at their small numbers and their enormous contributions, one has to wonder how big a share are they actually paying?

 Look at the Crystal Cathedral, built by Evangelicals and sold to the Catholics but Designed by Philup Johnson, a man living with his boyfriend for 40 years who designed it because Evangelicals couldn't find anyone talented enough or qualified to design it.

 

So if Chicken doodles wants to sell their packaged pink sludge to unsuspecting consumers, fine, it's all good. But if they want to discriminate, then don't use the roads or electricity or anything else that involved "gay taxpayer contributions".

Right wingers think they have the "right" to do what ever they want because they have god on their side. But god gave all that talent to the gays for a reason. Maybe he likes them more?

Pat Mitchell
Pat Mitchell

There is a world of difference between someone being gay [and not living the lifestyle] and someone actively seeking gay marriage.

Here is something that a whole lot of people are just lost on - marriage and all it's benefits were made [lower taxes] to give incentive for couples to GET MARRIED AND HAVE CHILDREN for the sake of future generations for the purpose of paying taxes and a continuous military.

There is no purpose or point for two same sex individuals to get married for  they do nothing to improve the future or the generations ahead.

For what point does this union exist for the sake of a country?

AND that was always the purpose behind marriage. This defeats that purpose.

Matt Hill
Matt Hill

Many gay couples adopt. It is also very difficult for a single person to fulfill the guidelines required to adopt a child. Those who are seeking gay marriage are looking at a much bigger picture than you are here as well. It's not just about a tax break, it's about many of the other obligations and benefits that are given to the significant other of a loved one. 

- A significant other of a gay couple can not make decisions for their loved one if they are in a hospital, as they are not legally married.

- A significant other can not be compensated through Social Security for the loss of their loved one (newest example is Sally Ride and her partner).

- Employment benefits, specifically medical benefits, can not be shared from one employer with a partner relationship because they are not legally married.

- Burial arrangements are often not allowed to be made by the partner, and if the deceased loved one has no family, imagine the kind of additional heartache this can cause for the living partner.

The "purpose" as you say of marriage to have children today is also not practiced by many married couples, does that mean through your personal opinion written here, that these couples are going to burn in hell?

I also read your reply to Shawn Miller's post below and found your entire post unreadable and rather unintelligent. I have a degree in history and have had conversations with many people about history, and many times the conversation dies when someone else goes "back in ancient times". What does that mean? Which ancient times? Back in one of the many ancient times, it was OK to take someone else's wife as a trophy of war, rape them, and either enslave them into breeding stock or leave them to die after fulfilling carnal cravings. Back in another not so ancient time, humans were traded as goods and used as the backbone of agricultural economics. If these ancient times worked as well as you say they did, maybe we should take up kidnapping and raping the women of our enemies and competitors? Or bring back slavery, because that worked to split our country in two fairly well, so people like you could go live in "gay free" America, and all of us who are tolerant and non-judgmental can live in a country you would call a "abomination" 

And what perversion do you speak of that cities fell? The U.K. currently allows gay marriage, because they know it is not a high priority issue. They also have a stable economy and public service systems go beyond anything we could create in the next 20 years. I don't see their country and civilization collapsing anytime soon because of said perversion.

Shawn Miller
Shawn Miller

The institution of marriage has existed long before taxes and even long before the concept of Christianity...so this whole post actually lacks a purpose or a point.

Also, if the only purpose of marriage was to have children, then couples entering into the institution should be required to take fertility tests, sign legally binding documents that they guarantee X number of offspring and be of a child bearing age, or else for what point does their union exist for the sake of a country?

Pat Mitchell
Pat Mitchell

 Why should someone be required that has a complimentary organs as does all in nature that reproduce.

Taxes have been around as long as societies have existed. Even if included - back in ancient times - trade of goods or resources - the communities gathered their wealth for the common purpose. And all - from forever - had military.

The only known cities who did not survive went down in history for this perversion. yet - theirs was infamy - and they no longer exist - after the 50 years surviving as such a society.

Janiece Senn
Janiece Senn

To anyone else who thinks you need to control how people love each other and especially Republicans who think they should be making laws about who can't love and marry, please eat there 3 times a day. Eat a bunch of it and take it home to your families. The sooner your blood vessels clog the better off we will all be.

Pat Mitchell
Pat Mitchell

Typical response from the 'tolerant' liberals.

Matthew Johnson
Matthew Johnson

Ah, but if you order the tasty grilled chicken sandwich, you ARE getting a low cholesterol, healthy meal. Why, by replacing beef with chicken, you are even fighting global warming, which is far, far more important a cause than anything Cathy contributes to.

So it is your moral duty to pass by McDonald's and Wendy's and stop only at Chick-fil-A and "eat more chicken (yes, I spell better than cows;)"

Joe Pimpernel
Joe Pimpernel

All those people packing Chick-Fil-A today are a sign of things to come.

Democrats should be very afraid. Especially the Kenyan pResident.

Chick-Fil-A is just a proxy for the voting booth on November 6th.

People can't wait to vote against the Left and defeat them. They are champing at the bit.

Janiece Senn
Janiece Senn

He has every right to say what he wants and thanks to citizens united he can throw all his money at the issue. We have every right to trash his name and anyone associated with it and to call for boycott of his company and anyone else associated with it. If he wants to throw his money away and ruin his business of selling slime chicken full of chemicals to the public then so be it. They didn't loose my business because they never had it to begin with. They serve up a bunch of nasty unhealthy crap.  Go ahead and eat it if you dare.

GramSandie
GramSandie

Yes, he has a right to say what he wants. It's called freedom of speech.   People have the right to choose to eat at his establishments or not.

However, the government does not have the right to decide who can open a business in a community and who will be excluded. The same people applauding the politicians in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco for not allowing a Chic-Fil-A in their community will scream the loudest if a community decides to not allow a Muslim businessman to set up shop.

Watch what you wish for because it's a slippery slope!

ljm1960
ljm1960

Not than anyone who's already decided it's wrong for people to express their opposing beliefs will believe or even consider this to be true, but I'll share a recent official statement from CFA: "Another rumor related to Chick-fil-A that is currently in the media is related to the Jim Henson Kid's Meal prizes. We want to set the facts straight. Chick-fil-A made the choice to voluntarily withdraw the Jim Henson Kid's Meal puppets for potential safety concerns for our customers on Thursday, July 19. On July 20, Chick-fil-A was notified of the Jim Henson Company's decision to no longer partner with us on future endeavors."

Christine Mc Nichol
Christine Mc Nichol

I am happy to see characters from my childhood that taught me about fairness and acceptance standing up publicly against messages of hate, thank you Muppets and Berenstain Bears:)

Matthew Johnson
Matthew Johnson

You did not learn the lesson of fairness well, since it is completely unfair to call Cathy's message, "a message of hate". It is no such thing.

Vincent Lovece
Vincent Lovece

 You can accept someone while still staying true to one's sincerely-held morals and beliefs. That's what tolerance is all about; accepting the other person while still disagreeing with them.

Luke Johnson
Luke Johnson

I'm glade we are finally talking about this issue. I hope it brings out the truth not just about companies and what political views they have but about what people in this country  really believe in. 

I will be eating at Chick-Fil-A. If I stop shopping/eating at everyplace some CEO has made me mad then where will I shop?

Chick-Fil-A's CEO is aloud to say what ever he wants. Yes everyone actions get reactions from other people and some times those reactions hurt. 

I believe in saying what you think. I hope more CEOs put their company on the line by expressing what they think about things. It's not good business but it's something I will support.

garbagecraft
garbagecraft

Its good to know that millenials have no morals.

Maybe you can stop by at the BP stations on your way to Chick-Fil-A.

Timothy Peters
Timothy Peters

"aloud" -- Says it all.

Anyone else think it's funny the anti-gay company's embracing BEARS as their new toys/prizes? Hilarious!

Brian Paone
Brian Paone

Anyone who can't tell the difference between Chick-Fil-A and WinShape seriously needs to shut the hell up already. This is BEYOND absurd.