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NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Blocking Chick-fil-A 'Not Government's Job'

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on recent statements by the Chicago and Boston Mayors Emanuel and Menino, and city officials from Philadelphia, who have expressed  desires to block Chick-fil-A from opening in their city'sbecause of the company's discriminatory worldview and donations to anti-gay marriage organizations.

BloombergBloomberg spoke with Politicker, saying he would not take a similar stance:

“They’re all friends but I disagree with them really strongly on this one,” Mr. Bloomberg said of his mayoral colleagues. “You can’t have a test for what the owners’ personal views are before you decide to give a permit to do something in the city. You really don’t want to ask political beliefs or religious beliefs before you issue a permit, that’s just not government’s job.”

Mr. Bloomberg went on to argue that blocking a business based on their political beliefs opens a potential slippery slope where liberal cities block conservative establishments and vice versa with conservative cities.

“Freedom of speech — everybody’s in favor of it as long as it’s what they want to hear,” he explained. “Well the only way that you have your freedom of speech is if you give other people freedom of speech. … This is just a bad idea and it’s not going to happen in New York City.”

There is one Chick-fil-A in NYC, on the NYU campus.

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Comments

  1. Now, large sodas on the other hand...

    Posted by: Clay | Jul 27, 2012 11:22:52 AM


  2. While I love all the backlash Chick-fil-A is getting, he's absolutely right on this, I think. It sets a bad precendent - we wouldn't want city governments to block an LGBT-friendly business because of a difference of stance on gay rights, would we?

    Posted by: POA | Jul 27, 2012 11:26:22 AM


  3. No sh*t Sherlock. What about the other petty nanny state cr*p Bloomberg, Menino, and other politicians engage in?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 27, 2012 11:27:05 AM


  4. I agree. Consumers have the freedom to choose where to shop. People will still actively boycott this chain, and those that agree with Chick-fil-a's statements will continue to go. Same with Domino's, Papa John's, Urban Outfitters, Cracker Barrel, Forever 21, and Exxon ...

    Posted by: TyN | Jul 27, 2012 11:28:24 AM


  5. Regulating all businesses with a universal standard (e.g. soda size) is one thing, but singling out an individual business because of the owner's personal belief is unethical in a free society. Bloomberg is right.

    Posted by: Yeek | Jul 27, 2012 11:29:41 AM


  6. but it's ok for those companies to refuse to hire or worse yet, terminate employees for their sexual orientation?

    Posted by: Brian M | Jul 27, 2012 11:31:04 AM


  7. Brian M., I don't know this for sure, but I believe that for Chick-fil-A to discriminate in hiring practices in NYC would violate local employment law. Of course, in some parts of the country they would be applauded for said discrimination.

    Posted by: Sam | Jul 27, 2012 11:37:19 AM


  8. actually the constitution says nothing about right to do business...what the constitution does say about business has to do with GOV's right to regulate

    when owner of chick-fil-a is tossed in jail for what he said, call me...otherwise his freedom of speech is not infringed at all and GOV has 100% right to regulate business per the constitution...business is given no rights per the constitution

    Posted by: say what | Jul 27, 2012 11:40:36 AM


  9. is this is when gay rights get tricky?
    what if the CEO was a member or supported of the KKK or groups like the KKK? and giving hatefull speeches

    when are we going to realize this is not about his belief is about supporting a hate group...

    did we forget about that? this business gives money to an organization that descriminates and do anything and everything they can to take away our rights.

    the way some town did not allow Wallmart to build in certain areas why not do the same with a business that supports hate and discrimination.???

    I know gay rights is moving forward, but when ppl like the COO of this busines and other groups can use the language they sue this would not be aloowed if anyone talked that way about blacks, Latinos< Jews etc...

    Come on people think about it...a state a town a city has the right to refuse a business that promotes hate plain and simple...

    I guess gay discrimination is allowed if you are a christian of if you believe in god....hmmmm???

    Gracias.

    Posted by: Derek | Jul 27, 2012 11:48:46 AM


  10. Chickfila has the right to do whatever they want. Society has the right to object, complain, boycott, etc. Society's right to boycott, complain and object does not intrude on Chickfila's right to say or do whatever they want. We live in a free market society. If companies want to publicly demean and alienate potential customers, that is not a best business practice. Chickfila is not a 501c3 non-profit religious organization, so no one is discriminating against any religion.

    Posted by: Drew Boo | Jul 27, 2012 11:48:58 AM


  11. No. But blocking parts of their menu is a government job? STFU, Bloomberg.

    Posted by: Otkon | Jul 27, 2012 11:52:50 AM


  12. Of course it's not ok for them to discriminate in terms of hiring or serving customers, but that's not what they're doing. I totally agree with the mayor.

    Posted by: rustytrawler | Jul 27, 2012 11:53:28 AM


  13. Of course it's not ok for them to discriminate in terms of hiring or serving customers, but that's not what they're doing. I totally agree with the mayor.

    Posted by: rustytrawler | Jul 27, 2012 11:53:30 AM


  14. As for businesses being people and having free speech rights, one of the more outrageous findings of the Citizens United verdict by SCOTUS is that corporations are indeed the equivalent of people and do, themselves have rights of free speech. Therefore their free speech rights are being infringed unless they can give as much money as they want to whatever legislators they want. Totally absurd, but now it's the law of the land. Wonder when they get voting rights...

    As for Chick fil A- Bloomberg is right, cities can agree or disagree with them, but I'm not sure what legal standing they have to block them. If it is legal, then block 'em. Jerks. Would not be at all surprised if Dan Cathy has a more complex basis for his homophobia.

    Posted by: Rob | Jul 27, 2012 11:53:33 AM


  15. Oh, but it's the government's job to tell people they can't drink large sodas and it's OK to try to ban them? Someone tell him to STFU. I'm sick of him.

    Posted by: Dumb Bloomberg | Jul 27, 2012 11:53:46 AM


  16. Mayor Bloomberg has some points in his argument. The owner(s) of a business have the right to spend their money as they wish (no, I wouldn't say spending money is the same as speech). As long as the company doesn't discriminate in hiring or act illegally in other standard business practices, government should not interfere in the business. However, the notion that "businesses can do whatever they want" is a grant much too broad for reason to tolerate. If the purpose of business is to make profit, pure and simple, then a license to steal from the customer is implied.

    Posted by: Chuck Mielke | Jul 27, 2012 11:58:58 AM


  17. @sam- this is probably true, but Bloomberg wasn't just speaking just about New York, but government in general. And, thanks to the governments in 29 states, Chick-fil-A can do just about anything they like where the hiring or firing of LGBT applicants/employees are concerned. Which after an incident at local restaurant here, I ceased being a patron. While I craved a chicken biscuit nearly every morning of the 5 years since, I've craved equality my entire life.

    Posted by: Brian M | Jul 27, 2012 12:01:41 PM


  18. Bloomberg can say this because there is no way in hell Chik-Fil-A will ever come to New York City.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jul 27, 2012 12:06:18 PM


  19. I agree with him on this one, and it also has nothing to do with the big soda ban, because that's a public health issue and has nothing to do with the personal beliefs of corporate ownership. However, as noted, the Chick Fil A in New York is on NYU's campus. While the government has no business banning businesses because of personal beliefs, a private entity like NYU is not held to that standard. The pressure should be on NYU to kick the branch out.

    Posted by: Lydia | Jul 27, 2012 12:12:08 PM


  20. But mayors have the right and responsibility to use their bully pulpit to oppose a company that actively wants to deprive citizens of equal rights. The mayor could have used this opportunity to do that and reaffirm his support of equality. The other mayors haven't actually blocked anything as far as I know. They spoke out against the anti-gay extremism of Chick-Fil-A and rightly noted that those values are at odds with the moral and legal values of their communities. The permitting process will sort out whether any mayor overstepped boundaries; as of now, at least those mayors let it be known where they stand on the type of anti-gay discrimination CFA enables.

    Kind of odd that Bloomberg was so reticent about this theoretical intrusion when he seems to favor actual government intrusion on other matters.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 27, 2012 12:18:25 PM


  21. I thought it was established the last time we had a Chick-Fil-A controversy (Jan 2011) that the company and its Winshape foundation do engage in anti-gay discrimination.

    http://www.projectqatlanta.com/news_articles/view/chick-fil-a_president_misleads_on_gay_marriage?gid=7369

    "Chick-fil-A continued over the weekend to defend itself against charges that the Atlanta-based restaurant chain is anti-gay, with its president contradicting his own family foundation about whether it accepts gay couples."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/us/30chick.html?src=twrhp&pagewanted=all

    "The company’s Christian culture and its strict hiring practices, which require potential operators to discuss their marital status and civic and church involvement, have attracted controversy before, including a 2002 lawsuit brought by a Muslim restaurant owner in Houston who said he was fired because he did not pray to Jesus with other employees at a training session. The suit was settled"

    Posted by: Tim NC | Jul 27, 2012 12:26:00 PM


  22. Most of the commentary I see on this seems to confuse the Owners's political views with the policies and practices of his company.

    If Chik-fil-A is violating anti-discrimination laws, either in their hiring or treatment of employees, or in their treatment of their customers, then the government has every right to hammer them, and hammer them hard.

    But if the company is abiding by the appropriate laws - and a Federal ENDA would make that true nationwide - then the fact that the owner or anyone else associated with the company holds political views or donates to political causes is independent of that.

    THAT'S what boycotts and protests are for. Not denying the business a license.

    I think these restaurants should be allowed to open, and never get a single customer.

    Posted by: Lymis | Jul 27, 2012 12:27:20 PM


  23. I'm not a fan of Bloomberg, but he's scored points with me on this issue. Kicking Chick-Fil-A out of liberal cities means that pro-gay businesses could be kicked out of more conservative areas. This is not a good idea as pro-gay businesses are more likely to hire and treat well those area's gay jobseekers/employees. If "unenlightened people" are going to change, wouldn't this change be easier if they have personal contact with pro-gay people/businesses? Making America more ideologically segregated isn't good for either liberals OR conservatives.

    Posted by: Mary | Jul 27, 2012 12:27:40 PM


  24. Using their "bully pulpit" is one thing, but to imply or state outright that they'll regulate businesses based on ideology? No, Bloomberg is right here, despite his silly soda-size campaign.

    It's easy to imagine the flip-side of this occurring and it's not pretty. What if the mayor of Bumfukke, Idaho announced that J.C. Penney was no longer welcome there due to their support of gay marriage? Rightly, the gay community would be screaming like scalded cats!

    The statements by the mayor of Boston and Rahm Emanuel have done us no favors. Even though they don't have the ability to enforce their words, EXCEPT where employment discrimination and prejudice against customers is concerned, it gives the Religious Right ammunition for their claim that their rights are being compromised.

    I hate Chik-Fil-A too. I haven't eaten there in over a DECADE for their stance on gay issues! Where the Religious Right and groups like NOM (same thing, really) are wrong is that they approve of Chik-Fil-A's stance while crying about how unfair it is when Google, Amazon, or JC Penney do the opposite.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 27, 2012 12:36:04 PM


  25. Bloomy is correct. Even the ACLU and other liberals are defending Chick-fil-A. The government cannot block business because its does not like its owners' political activity or speech. Moreover, because religious beliefs are the basic of their political speech, government cannot especially deny Chick-fil-A recognition and rights given to other bu

    Posted by: Javier | Jul 27, 2012 12:36:11 PM


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