Chick-fil-A PR Exec Dies of Sudden Heart Attack

Don Perry dies suddenly during media firestorm
Wikimedia/J.Reed

Poor Don Perry probably was not having a very good week. The vice president of public relations for Chick-fil-A died of a sudden heart attack yesterday, after 29 years with the chain and what was presumably a very difficult week spent trying to manage the company’s flagging PR in the middle of a media firestorm brought about by CEO Dan Cathy’s public assertion that the company is "guilty as charged" for opposing gay marriage.

The Internet was quick to run with the news of Perry’s death; The Huffington Post reports that certain Twitter users were blaming "the left" for killing him. (Though if the left were actually capable of killing people with mind bullets, the U.S. political landscape would presumably look a lot different.)

Of course, research has shown that job stress isn’t healthy, and Perry was put in the awkward position of trying to smooth over public opinion while his CEO was in the news saying, "I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about."

Last week Perry said in a statement that "going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena." He clarified to the LA Times that he meant the company would "not proactively [be] engaged in the dialogue."

While staying out of the media would probably be a good idea for the company at this point, Perry would not respond to questions about whether the company intended to continue donating to organizations opposing gay marriage.

"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation, or gender," Perry said in a statement.

In addition to the marriage equality mess, Chick-fil-A is also being sued for gender discrimination.