Cracker Barrel faces calls for a boycott from critics who object to the restaurant chain showing support for LGBTQ+ people.
The restaurant, known for its down-home decor, Southern country-themed menu and affordable prices, on Thursday published a Facebook post celebrating June as Pride Month, complete with a picture of a rocking chair painted in the rainbow colors that have come to represent the LGBTQ+ community.
"We are excited to celebrate Pride Month with our employees and guests," the restaurant posted. "Everyone is always welcome at our table (and our rocker). Happy Pride!"
Lauren Chen, host of conservative news outlet BlazeTV and a contributor to conservative youth organization Turning Point USA, urged consumers to avoid Cracker Barrel, pointing to the company's Pride Day post.
"Thankfully, this makes it even easier than ever to skip this mid restaurant whenever someone recommends it," she tweeted. "Everyone else should do their part and skip dining at the Cracker Barrel, too."
Cracker Barrel's post also drew many responses from social media users cheering the company's effort to recognize Pride Month.
"My mom works at Cracker Barrel in retirement," one Twitter user posted. "My brother is gay. This will make her day, I will be sure to take my family, thanks for sharing."
Headquartered in Tennessee, Cracker Barrel opened its first location in 1969 and now operates 664 locations nationwide with about 73,000 employees. In the third-quarter, the publicly traded chain reported profits of $16.8 million on revenue of $833 million, up from 5.4% the year ago-period.
Cracker Barrel didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 1999, former President Bill Clinton first designated the month of June as Pride Month, which has its roots in the tide of activism that followed the 1969 Stonewall riots. In 2011, the designation was expanded under former President Barack Obama to include bisexual and transgender people.
Recently, however, the LGBTQ+ movement has become another cultural battleground, with a range of companies and brands facing backlash for supporting Pride.
Target began selling Pride-themed clothing in its stores earlier this year, but later removed the merchandise after some locations received bomb threats. Target's move drew criticism from California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the gay community.
Anheuser-Busch InBev has seen sales of Bud Light plummet since the beer brand partnered with TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, a trans rights activist and actress. Sales have dropped so low that Bud Light lost its longtime perch as the nation's best-selling brew last month.
Khristopher J. Brooks is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering business, consumer and financial stories that range from economic inequality and housing issues to bankruptcies and the business of sports.
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