Cracker Barrel says it will not permit a Tennessee pastor who said in a sermon earlier this month that LGBTQ people are “freaks” and “animals” who are “worthy of death,” to hold an event in one of its Tennessee stores.
The company said it condemned “statements of hate and divisiveness” made by Grayson Fritts, a pastor at All Scripture Baptist Church in Tennessee. Fritts is also a detective in the Knox County Sheriff’s Office,
Twitter user Blake Kitterman tweeted, “Hey @CrackerBarrel, a terroristic group that endorses arresting and executing LGBTQ+ persons are hosting an event at your restaurant in my hometown, Cleveland, TN. Care to stop this?”
Kitterman also shared a photo of a Facebook event hosted by the church called “Small town soul winning Cleveland, TN.” The location of the event was listed as the address of a local Cracker Barrel in the picture.
Hey @CrackerBarrel, a terroristic group that endorses arresting and executing LGBTQ+ persons are hosting an event at your restaurant in my hometown, Cleveland, TN. Care to stop this?
I’m gay and you have the power to ensure me and my boyfriend are safe from these extremists. pic.twitter.com/DVYruzWniN
— Blake Kitterman (@blake_kitterman) June 18, 2019
The company issued a statement denying that they were “affiliated in any way with Mr. Fritts or All Scripture Baptist” and said they “disagree strongly with their statements of hate and divisiveness.”
“At Cracker Barrel, we work hard to foster a culture that is welcoming and inclusive — we have a zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory treatment or harassment of any sort,” the company shared in a statement on Twitter.
“We take pride in serving as a home away from home for all guests and in showing our communities and our country that the hospitality we practice is open to everyone,” it added.
We work hard every day to foster a culture that is welcoming and inclusive. We strongly disagree with Mr. Fritts’ statements of hate and divisiveness. Please see our full statement below. pic.twitter.com/kYc3fwm5kD
— Cracker Barrel (@CrackerBarrel) June 18, 2019
The Tennessee Democratic Party also shared a letter with Cracker Barrel on Twitter, writing to the company’s CEO, Sandra Cochran, “Since you have taken over as CEO of Cracker Barrel, there has been a noticeable improvement in the culture. The restaurants have become a more hospitable place for all Tennesseans, regardless of who we are, what we look like, etc. Hosting this type of event is in direct conflict with the culture you are working so hard to build as well as the inclusivity and diversity pledge stated on your website.”
A letter to @CrackerBarrel CEO Sandy Cochran from @tndp chair @marymancini re: Grayson Fritts’ church, All Scripture Baptist, hosting an event at their store in Cleveland, TN. pic.twitter.com/VI6carVyaY
— TN Democratic Party (@tndp) June 18, 2019