Cracker Barrel Founder Danny Evins’ Crusade Against Gays is First Sentence in His NYT Obituary

Cracker Barrel founder Danny Evins is dead, and the NYT wastes no time reminding the world of his legacy, a "losing battle to discriminate against gay employees."

EvinsThey add later:

At a time when discrimination against gay people was not prohibited under the laws of most states or the federal government, and many companies practiced it, Cracker Barrel’s action stood out for its sheer blatancy.

“They actually put a policy like this in writing, which was, and still is, shocking,” David Smith, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization based in Washington, told The Herald-Tribune.

The New York City Employees Retirement System, which owned more than $6 million of Cracker Barrel shares, led other stock owners in using their votes and other legal means to organize resistance.

In March 1991, Mr. Evins apologized and said the policy had been rescinded. But New York and its allies fought until 58 percent of the shareholders in 2002 persuaded Cracker Barrel’s board to vote unanimously to explicitly forbid antigay discrimination in its equal employment policy.

Anti-gay activists should take heed. Is this how you want to be remembered?


  1. Mark says

    According to the article, it was a policy in effect from January to March 1991 but it’s kept me out of that place to this day. And to think some restaurants might be gay managed today. Sorry, I still don’t like deep fried cheese.

  2. Jeff Atwood says

    Dannie [sic] Evins’ “normal heterosexual values” included 2 divorces and 3 marriages. I guess he didn’t worry about that making any customers feel “uncomfortable”.

  3. AnonJack says

    Our nearest one is gay managed and employs several gay employees. It is also friendly to minorities, which is another problem the Cracker Barrel of 20 years ago had. I boycotted it for years but my boyfriend and I returned about 5 years ago and, as we enjoy the menu…reminiscent of our backgrounds growing up…we enjoy it a lot. Management, policies, and attitudes change. Especially when a majority of shareholders demand that change. Yes, we gave it some time to see if it was PR or would actually stick but were pleased to see the sexual and racial diversity of both customers and staff when we returned…and, lol, at least at our location I don’t think they have fried cheese. More pot roast, meatloaf, etc. type things. Its a “country kitchen” menu. They do have fried okra, however, which I am not brave enough to try!

  4. jakeinlove says

    Although I’m not one to cheer a man’s death ,regardless of his politics, it’s nice to know that all his anti-gays and minorities (hello it’s called cracker barrel for a reason)was all in vain.

  5. Abel says

    Yeah, I wonder if all the anti-gay bigots out (Maggie, Bryan, Brian, Porno Pete, Boom-Boom Barber, Miss Tonette Perkins and the others) realize that someday they will be remembered as equivalent to George Wallace and the KKK Dragons. What legacies!

  6. Randy says

    Kudos for the NY Times to highlight his anti-gay stance. I’m sure his relatives and other loved ones are upset over that, and they should be. If you don’t want to be remembered as a bigot, then dont’ be a bigot. Simple as that.

    I recall that the Cracker Barrel policy was the subject of a documentary, and that’s the first time I knew that Coretta Scott King was so supportive. There were boycotts and disruptions organized against the company, and King was right there helping out.

  7. Caliban says

    I live in the South and I’m still ambivalent about Cracker Barrel even though those policies were changed a long time ago. That they ever DID have them still sticks in my craw.

    Do you “reward” a company for changing their policies by giving them your business? I still have a lot of bad feelings about that chain and haven’t eaten in one since the late 80s or early 90s.

  8. Onnyjay says

    Maybe the NYC employees retirement system can buy up enough of Chick-Fil-A to force them to stop bankrolling the “family” gay-haters. And Anonjack, don’t bother with the Barrel’s fried okra, it’s the cheap frozen stuff. Find a good Southerner who actually likes okra and knows how to cook it.

  9. Family traveler says

    This is a cautionary tale for Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage. Brian, what will be the first line of your own obituary? Might it be something other than positive and laudatory? The same question could be asked of Maggie Gallagher, Peter LaBarbera, Brian Camenker, and others. Mr. Evins will forever be a villian, at least for his actions preceding his apology.

    Does anyone know about how employees who were fired by the Cracker Barrel policy are doing now? I hope someone considers creating a documentary about the whole Cracker Barrel story. It’s amazing that that happened as recently as 1991. It was and still is a complete outrage.

    I know they are gay-friendly now (ditto Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood), but Cracker Barrel would have to go well out of their way to win any business from me and thousands, if not millions, of other people who were around in 1991.

  10. says

    I think it is somewhat important to highlight that Cracker Barrel currently scores a 35 in HRC’s Equality Index. While this is still on the low side, seeing as they were in the bottom of all major corporations just a few years ago, they have made strides. Things are getting better.

  11. BreckRoy says

    I absolutely do think you deny companies that are bigoted your business and once they have proven their change (if they change) is sincere, you reward them. That’s how we use our dollars to influence. If companies see an upside to changing deep seated policies of bigotry those policies are more likely to fall due to stockholder and management pressures (even with a bigot at the helm or on the board). Chick-fil-A and Lowes prove its possible to double down on your hate and count on like minded customers to keep you going even in the face of boycotts and protest, so when a company does start changing and climbing from 0 to 35 and growing on the equality index we need to use our dollars to reward them for NOT giving into the pressure to be Lowes or Chick-fil-A and instead choosing to grow and evolve. This is business and money still speaks loudest. We have to not only reward and praise those that have been with us the whole time, but encourage and welcome those who are later to the party, but still chose to come.

  12. Steven says

    I worked for a company that wanted very much to do business with CB. I vehemently refused to consider them as potential revenue and spent my energies educating my management to the truth of their business. Today I was surprised to see them as a sponsor of the Glee Project. Perhaps I need to try to teach Ryan Murphy some history.

  13. chrisinohio says

    I don’t know what it will take for these idiots to realize that they can’t determine who can and can’t love who.

    I’m straight and continuously pissed off when I read this stuff. It’s always based on either 1) religious BS or 2) self-loathing.

    Maybe one day they’ll all grow up.


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