In the wake of a public relations disaster set into motion by Chick-fil-A president, Dan Cathy, the vice president of corporate public relations for the company, Donald A. Perry, has died of a heart attack, reports the Huffington Post.
He was 60-years-old.
“Don was a member of our Chick-fil-A family for nearly 29 years,” a company statement published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution read. “He was a well-respected and well-liked media executive in the Atlanta and University of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him.”
“We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that … We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.”
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In addition to Cathy’s personal beliefs, the information that the company also donated millions in support of anti-gay legislation, has sparked a furious backlash from the LGBT community and its supporters.
According to EqualityMatters.org, the fast food company donated nearly $2 million in 2009 to groups that have anti-gay agendas.
IRS 990 forms show that WinShape, the restaurant chain’s charitable foundation which was founded by Chick-Fil-A’s chairman S. Truett Cathy in 1994, gave to the following groups in 2009:
- Marriage & Family Legacy Fund: $994,199
- Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
- National Christian Foundation: $240,000
- Focus On The Family: $12,500
- Eagle Forum: $5,000
- Exodus International: $1,000
- Family Research Council: $1,000
An earlier investigation by Equality Matters found that Chick-Fil-A, which has been voted the third most beloved restaurant chain in the United States, donated more than $1 million to anti-gay groups between 2003 and 2008. The IRS forms from 2009 are the most recent available as public records.
The reaction via social media to Perry’s death has been swift and Twitter conspiracies are running rampant. One Twitter user wrote: “Okay, Chick-fil-A protesters, you win,” wrote one user. “You killed their head of PR. They’re for gay marriage now.”