Is Chick-fil-A Lying About Recalling the Jim Henson Kids Meal Toys?

The picture above has been making the rounds, and the race to accuse Chick-fil-A of lying for Jesus has begun.  The heavens know some Christians sometimes lie for their causes, but, I dunno, this picture seems too disastrous for the restaurant’s PR to be true.  Color me skeptical.  I’ve seen some news reports about Chick-fil-A recalling the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Puppet toys, but they all seem to be based on this one photograph.  Anyone know if this sign is legit?  Might be a good idea to confirm that this sign is real (and false) before shouting “You lie!”  Just a thought.

[UPDATE] ThinkProgress says its real, quoting an official announcement from the Chick-fil-a’s public relations:

We can confirm that it is true that Chick-fil-A voluntarily withdrew the Jim Henson kids meal toys nationwide because of a potential safety concern. This is unrelated to the Jim Henson announcement.

So now the question becomes: is this true?

(H/T: Morat20 in the comments)

Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a contributor to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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14 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Assuming the sign is real:

    It’s good that we’ve reached the point where Chick-fil-A realizes that coming out against gay marriage in public will make them look bad.

  2. Morat20 says:

    According to my analysis of the kerning, font-spacing, image layers, and lens aperatures — it’s real. 🙂

    According to Think Progress it’s real.

    They cited two other sources, and then an official statement from the Chick-fil-A head PR honcho.

    So, yeah, looks like the sort of truly skilled responses I expect from modern capitalism to me.

  3. Darwin says:

    Another possibility which few people seem to be accounting for is that the puppets really are defective.

    Getting rid of their existing inventory of puppets, plus offering to replace them with free ice cream, is going to cost them at least a million or so, and while one could assume they were doing this out of spite, if so it’s spite that hurts them and not Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. (Working for one of Chick-fil-A’s competitors, I can tell you that licensing for kids meal toys is typically done for the entire year ahead of time, so at this point Henson’s Creature Shop has already been paid, and the only party that will lose if Chick-fil-A simply dumps the inventory is them.)

    • Another possibility (and I’m just stating a hypothetical, not something I really believe but also not something I think is beyond the pale): the puppets are really defective, and the Jim Henson Co., finding out that Chick-fil-a is poised to recall the products, announces preemptively that it will no longer associate with the restaurant in hopes of deflecting criticism.

      Or maybe it’s somewhere in between: the values of the Jim Henson Co. and Chick-fil-a are different, and the former has been increasingly uneasy, and now that there’s a question of the puppets, the co. will try to claim what is becoming the easier to claim higher ground.

      As I said, I don’t think I necessarily agree with this possibility. But the cynic in me has prompted me to bring this up.

      • RuggerDucky says:

        When questioned, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) reported they have no record of safety issues with these puppets, and that Chik-Fil-a never notified them of any problems.

    • Darwin says:

      Yeah, those are both fair possibilities. Lower trust on both sides, due to moral/cultural disagreement, could certainly make a breakdown more likely.

      And to undercut my above point that it hurts Chick-fil-A financially to dump the toys: They do, obviously, choose to forgo Sunday revenue by remaining closed on Sundays for moral reasons. So clearly they’re willing to take a financial loss (consistently) for a cause.

  4. Plinko says:

    Whatever the truth might be, they’re handling it poorly. One does not throw around the terms ‘recall’ and ‘potential safety issue’ with a childrens product lightly. If there is a real, serious safety concern, they’ve failed the basic step of notifying the CPSC and engaging in a real voluntary recall, which makes me think it’s quite likely there is no real ‘concern.’

    If there’s not really a concern, they’re likely to find that throwing those terms around can be a big headache. Why on earth would anyone voluntarily put out signs inviting legal difficulties for a made up problem? Even if there’s no real legal liability, someone will surely be looking to see what they can get out of Chik-fil-A with a lawsuit.

    • Patrick Cahalan says:

      Not to mention the fact that if there is no recall, and you imply that there is, I imagine that’s sort of legally problematic.

      • Plinko says:

        I would guess it’s very likely some folks from the CPSC have some tough questions for Chik-fil-A.

  5. hazemyth says:

    The scandal escandalates:

    Know idea what to make of it. (Not sure if I feel much interest, either.)

    Of course, it could be that Chick-Fil-A is just awful at PR. The COO’s statement was not exactly artful, for a public service sector company, in content or even in tone.

    • hazemyth says:

      *No* idea…

    • Will Truman says:

      It doesn’t seem clear to me that the Facebooker necessarily works for Chik-Fil-A. With CFA “under assault”, it strikes me as plausible that they could have a defender lying in the name of all that is good and holy.