Family of Berenstain Bears creators washes its hands of marketing deal with Chick-fil-A
The good news for Chick-fil-A? It now has a replacement for the Jim Henson puppets that were pulled from its children's meals.
The bad news for Chick-fil-A? The new giveaways in its kids' meals are generating a whole new controversy.
Georgia-based fast-food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, which has recently come under fire for its president's position on gay marriage, will be including books from the treasured "Berenstain Bears" series in its children's meals in August. And that's not sitting too well with the family of the Bears' creators, Stan and Jan Berenstain.
While the Berenstain family stopped short of outright condemning Chick-fil-A, they did make it abundantly clear on the Bears' official website that the giveaway is not an endorsement of Chick-fil-A's policies.
"Dear Friends," a statement on the site reads, "Our publisher, HarperCollins, is marketing several of their Berenstain Bears titles through a kids' meal promotion at Chick-fil-A scheduled for August. This program was in development for over a year. We were unaware of any controversy involving Chick-Fil-A until July 25th.
"The Berenstain family does not at this time have control over whether the program proceeds or not. We hope those concerned about this issue will direct their comments toward HarperCollins and Chick-fil-A," the statement concludes.
Stan Berenstain died in 2005, while Jan Berenstain died in February.
Chick-fil-A had no comment for TheWrap. HarperCollins has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.
Late last month, Jim Henson Company, which had been providing toys for Chick-fil-A's children's meals, decided to cut ties with the restaurant chain and donate the profits it had made from the partnership to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," a statement posted on the Henson company's Facebook page reads.
Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy sparked outrage with his statement to the the Baptist Press that he was "guilty as charged" when it came to his support for the Biblical definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Cathy added that the company shares a similar Bible-driven philosophy.
"We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit," Cathy said. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."