Cracker Barrel is starting to face a backlash from its customers after removing some Duck Dynasty-themed items from its restaurants and stores.
The restaurant chain made its announcement after Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson told GQ magazine why he believes homosexuality is a sin. A&E suspended Phil Robertson from the show shortly afterwards. (RELATED: Pagila: Duck Dynasty uproar ‘utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist’)
“We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation,” the company said in a statement.
Customers aren’t happy with that — and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is among those slamming the company.
“Cracker Barrel has decided it wanted to be the first big corporate sponsor to distance itself from Phil Robertson and in doing so, it has decided it doesn’t want ‘his kind,’ in their stores,” Huckabee said on Facebook. “Well, I’m ‘his kind,’ so they won’t be seeing me at their tables in the future.”
He added: “If it’s his Christian beliefs that make them uncomfortable, then we all need to know.”
And other customers expressed their frustration on the company’s Facebook page. “After you are done removing the selected products, go ahead and remove a bunch of tables and chairs,” customer Jody Dixon wrote. “You won’t be needing them any more.”
“Sad,” customer Melissa Lee Green wrote. “Worried about offending gays? What about offending Christians?”
“My church group had plans to have our luncheon at your establishment next week. Since you had no issue offending our church group, you leave us no alternative but take our business elsewhere,” customer Sandy Herman wrote.
Huckabee posted his full statement on Facebook:
Cracker Barrel has decided it wanted to be the first big corporate sponsor to distance itself from Phil Robertson and in doing so, it has decided it doesn’t want “his kind,” in their stores. Well, I’m “his kind,” so they won’t be seeing me at their tables in the future. While pretending to be a place where “country people” can get old fashioned “country cooking,” they must not understand that folks like Phil and he has more followers than GLAAD. They have made their choice. Cracker Barrel didn’t mind making money off the Duck Dynasty products, but who did they think was wearing those t-shirts? I’ve written to Cracker Barrel, not that it will matter to them. I have far more respect for companies that openly support liberal causes and don’t give a pretense of being what they aren’t. I will do business with them because they are honest about who they are. I can live with that. I have no respect for a company that bows to the slightest pressure from the politically correct. I ask Cracker Barrel to clarify exactly what Phil stands for that they wish to be disassociated with? If it’s his Christian beliefs that make them uncomfortable, then we all need to know. It would be helpful for Christians everywhere to know so we can make their stores more “comfortable” for the people they think are their constituents. It’s obvious they don’t want “my kind” in their stores. I’ll sure accommodate them!
UPDATE: Citing customer outrage, Cracker Barrel says it has decided to put all Duck Dynasty items back on the shelves. The full statement:
Dear Cracker Barrel Customer:
When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done.
You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong.
Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores.
And, we apologize for offending you.
We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different.
We sincerely hope you will continue to be part of our Cracker Barrel family.