KEY POINTS

  • Chick-fil-A's "Back the Blue" viral photo drew speculations that the fast-food chain is backing the police
  • The company had to clarify that the photo is actually for a high school event in 2015
  • The CEO and the company issued an official statement denouncing racism

Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A issued an apology for "any confusion" brought on by a viral photo featuring its workers wearing "Back the Blue" shirts. Amid a wave of protests against police brutality, a company spokesperson said that the image has been "taken out of context."

The photo shared on social media sparked speculations that Chick-fil-A distributed the shirts to their staff to show support for the police amid the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests.

But a representative from Jackson Spalding, the fast-food chain's public relations firm, clarified that the viral image was, in fact, taken in 2015, when one Chick-fil-A outlet supported a high school football team in Conroe, Texas.

"The photo is currently being taken out of context,” the spokesperson said. "So, we apologize for any confusion this has caused.”

The "Back the Blue" shirts also went viral in 2016, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas. The company also issued a clarification to say that the shirts were meant for high school football season.

8126234469_c3648552f1_b A photo featuring workers of Chick-fil-A has sparked confusion and speculations about the company's stance on the police brutality protests. Photo: Flickr

However, Chick-fil-A did issue a statement in light of the current unrest on its official website on June 3.

"Racism should have no place in society. Not now, not ever. It cannot be tolerated," the statement read. "Our hearts are breaking, for our black Team Members, Operators and Staff and all those in the Black community who are suffering and who have suffered for too long because of racism."

Chick-fil-A Chairman and CEO, Dan T. Cathy, also wrote his personal reflections about the protests on LinkedIn a day before the company issued their statement.

"The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and many others is horrifying and merits our outrage," Cathy wrote and suggested several ways white Americans like himself could use their privilege to help the marginalized communities.

"We must teach our children about leadership, love and justice," the CEO said. "We must use our influence in our own businesses to be responsible capitalists who meet the needs of society. We must use our influence so that all of our communities can participate in the rising tide of prosperity and hope. We must have intentional, difficult conversations with co-workers and strangers."

Cathy also emphasized on building "a world that reflects God’s love for all of us."