Cracker Barrel Turns Away Homophobic Preacher and his Followers from Meeting in Their Restaurant

The Cleveland, TN based outlet for the chain restaurant denied and “turned away Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective Grayson Fritts and his church group, citing the restaurant chain’s zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory treatment or harassment of any sort,” reported The Tennessean.

The chain said it told the church its event will not be allowed. “We serve everyone who walks through our doors with genuine hospitality, not hate, and require all guests to do the same,” the restaurant said.

In early June, Fritts thrust himself and his church into the spotlight with a series of recorded sermons in which he advocated for government authorities — including Knox County Sheriff’s Office where he works — to execute LGBTQ people.

Independent Baptist pastor Grayson Fritts speaks with the media ahead of the Wednesday service in Knoxville, Tennessee on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Fritts has come under fire for preaching in a recent sermon that the government should arrest and execute LGBTQ community members. (Photo: Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel)

Cracker Barrel said its corporate policy “strictly prohibits” any type of protest or public demonstration on their property or in their stores. 

“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 release said. “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.”

David Tierney, of Knoxville, who identifies as gay and genderqueer, said they spoke to the restaurant and organized a phone campaign, while Trey Grant, of Knoxville, organized a demonstration outside of Cracker Barrel for the event. 

“It is a small victory for our community and it took a lot of work for us to even get this accomplished,” Tierney said. 

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