Media Try To Cancel In-and-Out Burger Over Refusal To Enforce San Francisco’s Vaccine Passports
The knives are coming out for popular California burger joint In-N-Out after the company announced it opposes vaccine passports and media outlets reported that In-N-Out donates to Republican political candidates, the two worst things an American company do in 2021. The controversy over the famous regional fast-food joint began earlier this week when news broke that its only San Francisco location was temporarily shuttered for refusing to check customers’ vaccine status as required by local health authorities.
The restaurant has since been allowed to partially reopen, but its indoor dining room remains closed. This minor kerfuffle might have escaped notice but for the company’s strident statement about why it was not checking customers’ papers when they try to order a burger.
“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government. It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant Associates to segregate Customers into those who may be served and those who may not, whether based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason,” said the company. “We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business. This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive.”
California’s lockdowns last year sparked episodes of organized non-compliance from small businesses that had been ordered to close. Mandated vaccine passports have thus far proven less controversial. Certainly, no other corporate chain has openly sparred with health officials over the policy.
In-N-Out’s refusal to enforce the Bay Area’s vaccine mandates has drawn fire from some Bay Area liberals who say the company’s stance on vaccines is only its latest expression of political wrongthink.
On Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle‘s online home page prominently featured not one, not two, but five stories about In-N-Out.
Landing page of the San Francisco Chronicle right now is really something. Not only is In-and-Out not totally onboard with the vaccine passports, they’re also Republicans! pic.twitter.com/MD7s4UmrJY
— Christian Britschgi (@christianbrits) October 21, 2021
That included a lead story about the company’s donation of $40,000 earlier this year to the California Republican Party during the recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom.
There’s nothing objectionable about reporting on publicly available campaign finance data, but that donation’s sudden newsworthiness is more puzzling considering the recall campaign against Newsom failed and In-N-Out’s donations to California Republicans have circulated in the media for years. It’s seemingly part of a trend whereby business owners that do object to pandemic mandates are then subject to obsessive reporting on their politics.
Certainly, the Chronicle‘s campaign finance story is providing fodder for the newspaper’s columnists, who see the donation to the state GOP as a reason to boycott the restaurant entirely.
Tony Bravo, the writer of the Chronicle‘s Datebook column, suggests In-N-Out’s donations over the years to the Republican party, taken together with the Bible verses it prints on its burger wrappers, signals the company’s opposition to not only vaccine passports but basic human rights as well.
“There are Bible verses on its packaging, something that has felt like a conservative dog whistle to many LGBTQ people,” writes Bravo, adding that “In-N-Out may not be guilty of supporting anti-LGBTQ causes in the same overt way as Chick-F
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