Maybe Subway is more like Chick-Fil-A than anyone ever realized.
A branch of the Subway chain in Angers, France was forced to close recently after a Valentine’s Day special was offered to heterosexual couples only.
The store’s owner put up a poster advertising a meal deal for couples that included a footlong Subway sandwich, a drink and a dessert each for 14 Euros. Bracketed next to the word “couples” were the letters “H/F,” indicating a couple was defined as a man and woman only.
Also on the poster was an asterisk that read: “Discrimination (?) No, the marriage for all law has advanced, but has yet to be ratified by the Senate. Until then, I’ll use my freedom of expression.”
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A bill to legalize gay marriage will go before the upper house of French Parliament on April 2. It is expected to pass.
The outrage over the poster started when one Facebook user posted a picture of the poster saying: “If this isn’t homophobia, I don’t know what is!”
A slew of angry customers responded to the ad on both Facebook and Twitter, and the official Twitter account of Subway in France responded on Friday saying: “We have been made aware of this poster and it has been immediately removed from the Subway in Angers.”
In an effort to calm the outrage, the company later tweeted: “We are committed to diversity/integration, we are working with the owner of the restaurant to reinforce our values/politics.”
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A similar message was sent out via Facebook from the Subway France’s Facebook page. It read: “The Subway brand it strongly committed to maintaining the values of diversity and inclusiveness in its restaurants around the world and does not endorse in any discrimination of any kind. We apologize to all those people who felt offended by the individual promotional initiative for Valentine’s Day of a restaurant in Angers, France.”
French website Ouest-France reported that another Subway in Angers was forced to close its Facebook page because of abusive comments from angry customers. They later sent out a press release distancing themselves from the Subway with the “heterosexuals only” offer.
Subway is looking at possible sanctions for the owner who put up the advertisement.