When last we left Cracker Barrel restaurants, the chain’s management was flip-flopping like mad as it tried to figure out which “principles” would alienate the fewest customers.
In 2013, reacting to A&E’s craven PC punishment of Phil Robertson of cable’s Duck Dynasty clan for expressing the basic religious convictions of millions of Americans regarding homosexuality in response to an GQ interviewer’s question, Cracker Barrel pulled its products with Phil’s likeness, saying in a statement,
“Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture…. We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation.”
My translation of this weaselly screed: :
‘We at Cracker Barrel have no principles whatsoever. We are a blank slate; we go with the flow. There is no right or wrong for us: whatever position we feel we have to hold to get the most people to buy our products, you can count on us. If 51% of America begins worshiping Baal, hey, sacrifice a goat for in our name, because we’re all in. If the majority want to ban, hey, anything or anyone, we’re in full agreement. We aim to please, in any way that helps our bottom line.’
Sure enough, as soon as it looked like the tide of public opinion was turning against GLAAD and other LBGTQ activists in their effort to “cancel” a member of a large religious community for expressing his beliefs, Cracker Barrel turned on a dime, and bleated,
“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. We listened. Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores. And, we apologize for offending you.”
I wrote at the time,
I can respect a company that takes a stand for gay rights and against denigration of gay Americans, at the risk of alienating the religious right. I can respect a company that believes in open dialogue on all topics and tolerance for opposing views, and that conducts its business accordingly. I respect an organization that stands behind freedom of religion and religious tolerance.
I have no respect for Cracker Barrel whatsoever.
Who cares whether such a feckless company is on their side or not?
It’s good to know Cracker Barrel’s management has maintained its stance: they still have no principles, can be bullied with ease, and possess as much spine as a typical annelid worm. If being reliable weenies in any controversy is a kind of integrity, I guess they have it.
On November 7, guests at an East Windsor, Conn. restaurant saw an item among the antique tools, boxes, utensils and other decorations in the establishment that reminded them of a noose. Since it reminded them of a noose, and blacks were once lynched using nooses, then obviously the noose-like decoration was a deliberate dog-whistle for racists. Or something. Some customers posted photos and videos on social media, probably all a-tingle because they had a “Gotcha!” that could bring a corporation to its knees in full grovel. The noose-like object had been there for years, but Joe Biden appears to have been elected, Black Lives Matter is ascendant, and now the perpetually offended and cancel mobs are ready to pounce. Watch what you say! Watch what you hang from the ceiling!
We’re sorry this happened. This antique electric soldering iron has an original wrapped cord that should not have been displayed. We have removed the item from our East Windsor store. Many thanks to the guest who notified us of this so that we could correct our error.
…and elaborated to CNN, saying, “The décor item — an antique soldering iron with an original wrapped cord — in our East Windsor store should have been noticed and corrected before ever being displayed, and it has since been removed.We are grateful to our guest who pointed it out to us so we could correct this mistake. We work hard to create a culture of hospitality that’s welcoming, respectful and inclusive to everyone who walks through our doors,” the company said.
Of course, it wasn’t enough. Tamra Hawkins went to the East Windsor Cracker Barrel on November 8 and posted a video of the store’s decorations on Facebook.
She told CNN she’s eaten at that Cracker Barrel, which is about 15 miles north of Hartford, at least four or five times a month for the last five years. Hawkins didn’t see the cord while she was shooting the video but was outraged when commenters pointed out that it was there. She told CNN she didn’t believe the company’s explanation and did not accept the apology. “I would respect it more if they took ownership with poor taste in judgment in the prop being on display,” Hawkins said.
What Cracker Barrel and every other company that gets attacked like this for contrived racial insensitivity has an obligation to do is refuse to apologize, because it emboldens bullies, censors and totalitarians. “That was not a noose,” the company should have stated, and we are profoundly insulted that unscrupulous activists, looking to divide society and to create fear and hate, would impugn our dedication to American principles by suggesting that it was. Those who see racism everywhere make it more difficult to call bigotry out where it really lies.”
Companies like Cracker Barrel are the quislings and cowards of the culture wars.
I still have no respect for Cracker Barrel, or anyone else who, as to paraphrase playwright Lillian Hellman,, “cut their conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”
Pointer and Facts: Legal Insurrection