Boy Scouts | Chipotle | News | Utah

Chipotle Does Not Support Companies That Discriminate Against Gays Unless They Are the Boy Scouts

Chipotle

UPDATE: They canceled.

Yesterday I posted an item noting that donations to Utah Scout-O-Rama, the annual fundraiser for the Great Salt Lake Council, had fallen from $70,000 to $8,000 because of complaints over the BSA's anti-gay policies.

In that item was a note that Chipotle Mexican Grill was providing food for the event.

Towleroad received an email from a reader who complained to Chipotle about its decision to support the Utah Scout-O-Rama. The company said that it was ignoring its own policies against discrimination to support the event:

Paul,

Thanks for sharing your concern. Due to the strength of the Scouting community in Salt Lake, it's a chance for us to connect with customers in that community. It is our hope the the Scouts will be more inclusive soon.

In truth, our involvement with the fundraiser is inconsistent with our policy of not supporting organizations that discriminate against sexual orientation, race, and other personal factors. Our intention was not to express support of any Boy Scout policies but to support the children in the Scouts in Utah, many of whom are fans and customers of ours. We are sorry for how our decision to support this fundraiser affect you.

We will continue to support the LGBT community by sponsoring Pride festivals and other events. Chipotle would not be what it is today without gay people, and we are appreciative of our gay fans and gay coworkers.

We appreciate your genuine concern and hope that you will visit our restaurants in the future.

Sincerely,
Louisa

Louisa Nickel | Customer Service Consultant
Chipotle Mexican Grill

Think Progress reached out to Chipotle company spokesman Chris Arnold and he basically told them the same thing:

We have built our brand largely by reaching out to people on a grassroots level and have done that working with a variety of community groups around the country, including school groups, youth sports, pride events, music festivals, food events and farmers’ markets, among many others. Our intention in doing that isn’t to endorse the policies of those groups, but rather to reach individuals (in this case the scouts themselves) through groups that are important in a given community. These decisions are made by a team of people around the country with the intention of connecting our restaurants with people in those communities.

That being said, this decision is not consistent with our own values, and we have used this opportunity to reinforce those values with the team that makes those decisions for us.

How do you feel about Chipotle supporting the Boy Scouts?

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Comments

  1. Doug - It's a good thing you don't post often. You would be ripped to shreds by anyone with common sense and integrity.

    There were no attempts at disenfranchisement by Republican lawmakers in the last election. None. Were they playing politics? You bet. The two are not the same thing. As long as the polls are open from 7 AM to 7PM on Tuesday and the identification rules are the same for everyone, then what exactly is your legitimate complaint?

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 19, 2013 11:22:05 AM


  2. This ain't Chip-fil-a or anything. And they are ALL OVER at Pride every year. This honestly doesn't bother me that much. I actually appreciate the honesty in their statement rather than corporate backpedaling.

    Posted by: AJ | Mar 19, 2013 11:22:06 AM


  3. I noticed the same thing when I read the previous article yesterday and wondered what Chipotle was doing there, and was that the end of the story. When they say reach out to, they mean provide free food and advertise to, so that they will buy more product. It is not as if they are reaching out so that they might teach the scouts about their own non-discrimination policy. Since the BSA has a very current situation going on concerning discrimination, it does seem as if Chipotle can be seen supporting the scouts own policies instead of steering clear. I think this is a big error of judgement on the part of Chipotle, and I think I WILL be making my own choice to not support Chipotle. One cannot only sometimes do the right thing, and then today say I am going to do the opposite for no good reason. Like a superhero saying, "Well I fly around saving lives everyday, but today I just felt like killing someone. You know just this once, I do good all the time, and I know it goes against everything I stand for, but what the hell. If you weigh all the saving I do against the one or two people I kill every once in a while, I am sure you won't mind." Ha, I know this extreme and silly. But seriously you have a policy, which I as a consumer I support, and with my money probably support too much, and then you go and give free food to an organization that oppresses me. I think that Chipotle's response to the concerns raised is wholly inadequate and disturbing.

    Posted by: Critifur | Mar 19, 2013 11:23:25 AM


  4. This is a touchy situation because we naturally separate our animosity towards the BSA leadership from the BSA youth members.

    It's kind of like food stamps: you can't feed the deserving youth without the possibility that the undeserving parent is chowing down as well.

    Let's not put corporate friends in a bad spot. Disclaimer: I was not aware that Chipotle is a corporate friend until now, and have never eaten there because the brand seemed throughly tiresome.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 19, 2013 11:25:48 AM


  5. Junk food, junk ideology, kinda fits together doesn't it? And they throw that damn cilantro into everything. Eff-em.

    Posted by: Onnyjay | Mar 19, 2013 11:27:49 AM


  6. I agree with WastedMoney up there somewhere. If they want to connect with the community in hopes of reaching the kids, then make wrappers or signage that promote equality.

    Then again, it would be interesting to see if the group would still accept the food.

    Posted by: Secret Identity | Mar 19, 2013 11:28:37 AM


  7. In some ways, this is the same kind of issue that has come up before in saying that you're against a particular war but support the troops. Here we're against the policy adopted by the Boy Scouts leadership, but support the kids.

    We as a community need to tread with at least some caution on this issue because we need to be clear that we're against the *policy* not Scouts.

    Posted by: Adam | Mar 19, 2013 11:33:07 AM


  8. So my situation is: I enjoy Chipotle and there is one just a mile from my home. There is also another restaurant that serves the same food called Zabas. Practically the exact same menu. That restaurant is one mile in a slightly different direction. I like both. I tend to stop at the one I'm nearest.

    I plan to be nearest to Zabas now.

    Color me disappointed in Chipotle that prides itself on it's corporate values.

    Posted by: Randy | Mar 19, 2013 11:35:54 AM


  9. Chipotle's stand here is almost as bad as it's food. their statement is plain and simple pandering. it is their right to support whomever they would like, but for our community to say that is "okay" because they are "hedging their bets" in the gay community as well, is weak. there are too many major companies and organizations taking principled stands on this issue to accept this waffling from Chipotle. they can choke on their awful food.

    Posted by: hdwb | Mar 19, 2013 11:44:04 AM


  10. Who cares?

    The Boy Scouts are more than this gay thing - ultimately it's an organization for good. You can donate to the boy scouts without it being a public proclamation that you want gay teenagers euthanized or something. Save the hysterics.

    Chipotle is not chic-fil-a and the Boy Scouts are not NOM. Allow yourself to see gray areas.

    The comment calling Steve Ells self-loathing in particular is everything that's wrong with gay advocacy. Conform to the party line or be excommunicated because you must hate yourself! Fascist much?!

    Posted by: David | Mar 19, 2013 11:44:42 AM


  11. I have mixed feelings about this. I don't think the kids should be denied having access to Chipotle just because the higher-ups in the organization are still supporting an anti-gay policy (that they are currently considering eliminating). I'd feel better if Chipotle included flyers with the food stating that their company has a non-discrimination policy, and hopes that the Boy Scouts will soon follow suit. At least then a message get out to the kids. Otherwise, Chipotle's participation seems rather pointless (except to make money).

    Posted by: David in Houston | Mar 19, 2013 11:45:19 AM


  12. I opted a long time ago not to eat at that spawn of McDonald's corporation (Chipotle used to operate under the McD's umbrella) because there are many better and much more local places to get good and healthy food.

    Posted by: bkmn | Mar 19, 2013 11:47:27 AM


  13. While I am against supporting the Boy Scouts right now, I'm sort of buying what Chipotle's selling. It's the organization that we have a problem with, and I think donating money would be a different story. However, feeding children who are likely unaware about any of the politics of the organization doesn't seem bad to me.

    Posted by: Jon B | Mar 19, 2013 12:01:52 PM


  14. Some of the analogies on here are a little....off.

    This isn't like supporting the troops but being against the war. Troops are in an organization in which they have to obey commands about how they will be used to defend their nation. We can admire the sacrifice made by a member of the military even if we don't support the policies. A Boy Scout is not making a sacrifice, is not bound by a code of conduct that has legal ramifications if broken, and is not serving some broader public purpose that is noble (national defense). Because it's so relatively easy to exit the BSA, it's also easy for Chipotle to support youth without supporting events celebrating the BSA. Chipotle has other, better options here.

    And it's not like food stamps. Food stamps are often essential to prevent malnutrition, and hunger among families. They can be abused like any social program, but they stand for the principle that it's important to assist children in poverty. The Scouts will still eat absent Chipotle coupons, obviously, and I'm not sure what grand social policy we're promoting with coupons for Mexican food to an organization flush with cash.

    Posted by: Thomas | Mar 19, 2013 12:01:56 PM


  15. Thank you Towleroad for this information. I have informed Chipotle that I will no longer eat at their establishment.

    Posted by: NullNaught | Mar 19, 2013 12:10:40 PM


  16. http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/03/19/1742331/chipotle-cancels-sponsorship-of-utah-boy-scout-event/

    Chipotle cancels sponsorship.

    Posted by: excy | Mar 19, 2013 12:14:08 PM


  17. Chipotle's comment section here:
    http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/talk_to_us/general_comments/general_comments.aspx

    Posted by: Jimo | Mar 19, 2013 12:26:36 PM


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