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July 24, 2012 Print

Invitation to Chick-fil-A Event Disappears

by Karla Dial

On Monday, CitizenLink reported that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is organizing Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on Aug. 1 as a way to counteract the boycott being organized by same-sex marriage activists.

After posting about the event on his official Facebook page, Huckabee created a public Facebook invitation, letting people know they could participate either by showing up at a local Chick-fil-A franchise or participating online. By midday today, the page had received approximately 100,000 “likes.”

Shortly after that, however, the invitation disappeared. A CitizenLink search for “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” on the site turned up only a franchise’s “Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A Savannah Mall,” held July 13. However, a page calling for a “same-sex kiss-in” at Chick-fil-A on Aug. 3 remains.

“A number of you are asking questions about the Chick-Fil-A event,” Huckabee posted just after 4 p.m. ET. “The event disappeared from my page this morning and we have asked Facebook to look into this. I will update you as soon as I know more. The event is still on and the info should be back up soon.”

The controversy erupted after Chick-fil-A Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy said in a recent radio interview that efforts to redefine marriage are “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”

“Just like a magician, it completely disappeared without any explanation whatsoever. We’re trying to figure out where it went and what happened to it, and get it restored as quickly as possible,” Huckabee’s son, David, told CitizenLink.

David Huckabee said the mysterious disappearance happened while he was called away from his office for meetings.

“When I got back, my mailbox was full of, ‘What happened? What happened?’ But we were right around the 100,000 mark and it was growing several hundred an hour,” he said.

In an email to CitizenLink, a Facebook representative said if the company had deleted the page, it was because of its content.

“As a matter of policy, we do not factor in the number or ratio of reports in our decision to remove content, and if action is taken, it will be because content violated our policies not because of public sentiment,” the representative wrote.

Huckabee said it would be a stretch to classify the content of the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day Page” as “hate speech,” which Facebook bans.

“It seemed to be a fairly positive message, and in reading it, we encouraged people, ‘Don’t engage in a verbal battle, don’t be angry, the goal’s real simple: Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand on godly values by simply showing up and eating at a Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, Aug. 1.’ That was the gist of it, that was the only call to action,” he said. “I certainly don’t think that anything in the language could be misconstrued as hate speech. Now, some of the comments against it, from people who don’t believe as we believe, might be considered hate speech, but certainly not the post itself.”

Regardless of whether the page is restored, he said, the event will still take place.

“(Go) anytime throughout the day. Breakfast, lunch or dinner. All of the above. Go three times a day. Stop there and get one of their milkshakes. Whatever you want to do,” Huckabee said. “We hope there’s a line out the door and around the block at every Chick-fil-A in the country.”