Off Their Rocker: Cracker Barrel Goes Gay, Angering Customers

Emma Campbell | June 9, 2023
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Cracker Barrel is facing a boycott from its conservative customers after revealing the chain is supporting Pride Month celebrations near the company’s headquarters in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Cracker Barrel announced in a post on social media Thursday that it would be celebrating Pride Month this year, sparking confusion and frustration among some of its patrons.

In a post on Facebook and Instagram, the company announced it was “excited to celebrate Pride Month with (its) employees and guests," affirming that “everyone is welcome” at the restaurant and in its “(rainbow) rocker,” and finished off with a “Happy Pride!”

In response to the post, conservative group Texas Family Project tweeted photos from the restaurant’s website, including its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) statement and its statement about Pride Month.

“We take no pleasure in reporting that @CrackerBarrel has fallen. A once family-friendly establishment has caved to the mob,” Texas Family Project said.

According to the company’s “Diversity and Inclusion” page, the restaurant’s “focus” this year is “to be a part of the Pride experience," which apparently includes “bringing the front porch to Pride” by participating in a Pride event in Nashville, Tennessee. Photos from the event were also on the page, showing people sitting in a “giant Pride rocker.” The restaurant’s push to participate in Pride this year was in conjunction with its LGBTQ+ Alliance and DEIB teams.

Some conservatives have already called for a boycott of the restaurant on Twitter. Lauren Chen, a contributor to Turning Point USA, called her followers to stop eating at the restaurant.

Related: US Air Force Tweets Image of Soldier Saluting Against a Pride Flag

“Thankfully, this makes it even easier than ever to skip this mid restaurant whenever someone recommends it. Everyone else should do their part and skip dining at the Cracker Barrel, too,” Chen said.

Many have said that in making this decision, Cracker Barrel has forgotten that its primary customers are not people of the LGBTQ+ community. One news outlet called the move “a middle finger to (its) customer base.”

In 1991, Cracker Barrel faced major controversy after it announced its policy to stop hiring people “whose sexual preferences fail to demonstrate normal heterosexual values which have been the foundation of families in our society” and fired multiple gay employees. The restaurant later rescinded its policy after the intense backlash from the public. Nearly 30 years later, in 2019, the company was again launched into the public eye after it banned an anti-gay pastor from holding an event at one its locations and released a “zero-tolerance” policy for discrimination.

The company has reportedly been celebrating Pride Month since 2018.

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