Chick-fil-A, Henson Spar Over Promo Toys
Both Sides Say Toys Will No Longer Be Handed Out
Amid a dispute between restaurant chain Chick-fil-A and the Jim Henson Company, the creator of the Muppets franchise, the two have ended a marketing partnership. While promotional Muppets toys had been given out with kids' meals in Chick-fil-A restaurants, both sides say the toys will no longer be handed out. At dispute is which side decided to end the relationship.
While The Jim Henson Company says it decided to stop working with Chick-fil-A after its CEO acknowledged that he opposes gay marriage, Chick-fil-A says it voluntarily pulled all of Jim Henson's Creature Shop Puppet Kids' Meal toys, citing a possible safety issue. Officially, Chick-fil-A is telling customers that children may get their fingers stuck in the puppets – which showcase popular characters like Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog – although the company is not advising anyone to return the promotional items. There have not been any cases in which a child has actually been injured, the company said.
The timing and circumstances surrounding the differences over the promotional toys have fueled an ongoing public feud between Chick-fil-A and Henson. Recently, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy acknowledged that he does not support gay marriage, which prompted Henson to sever ties with the restaurant. Henson chief executive Lisa Henson is a strong supporter of gay marriage and, following Cathy's statements, directed her company to donate all puppet-related payments from Chick-fil-A to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Before the feud, the Jim Henson Company had agreed to provide Chick-fil-A with kids' meal toys through August 18. Henson now says it won't work with Chick-fil-A again. "The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years, and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," the company said.