Chik-fil-A booted out of United Kingdom one week after opening.

Chick-fil-A has shuttered its first U.K. location after boycotts and protests by LGBTQ2 rights activists.

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The U.S. fast-food chicken joint opened a location in Reading shopping mall The Oracle on Oct. 10 and was forced to close just over a week later. The company has said it will be officially closed within six months.

A spokesperson for the mall told the BBC that the restaurant’s closing is the “right thing to do,” adding that it wouldn’t be allowed to stay open beyond its “six-month pilot period.”

“We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period and not to extend the lease any further,” The Oracle’s full statement reads.

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READ MORE: LGBTQ2, animal rights protesters overshadow grand opening of Chick-fil-A in Toronto

Global News reached out to Chick-fil-A for comment but did not hear back by publication time.

According to Chick-fil-A, the early exit from the mall won’t be stifling its plans for international expansion.

“We have been very pleased with the lines since opening Oct. 10 and are grateful for customer response to our food and our approach to customer service,” the company said in an email to media over the weekend.

READ MORE: Grand opening of Toronto Chick-fil-A generates both excitement and anger

“We mutually agreed to a six-month lease with The Oracle Mall in Reading as part of a longer-term strategy for us as we look to expand our international presence.”

Local organization Reading Pride was part of the protest that influenced Chick-fil-A’s decision to leave the city.

On Oct. 19, UK Pride Network posted up near the location. An organizer can be heard saying: “You are not welcome anywhere in the UK and we will stand up, like we did today, quite rightly telling you to cluck off if we see you again.”

They first announced their view of the company on Oct. 14, when they tweeted that they were “staunchly opposed to Chik-fil-A setting up shop in the UK and certainly in Reading.”

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A similar reaction was seen when Chik-fil-A first opened shop in Toronto in September.

Over 100 protesters crashed the grand opening with signs reading “cluck off.”

The 519, an organization dedicated to the advocacy for the inclusion of LGBTQ2 communities, along with LiberationTO and animal rights activists, made up the protest and stood outside with signs, photos and chants.

“When we have an increasing global climate and rhetoric around hate-fuelled values, this is about taking a stand against that,” Jaymie Sampa, the 519’s manager of anti-violence initiatives, told Global News at the time.

READ MORE: Girl left out of high school yearbook after wearing tuxedo to photo shoot

Signs that read “Chuck-off” and “Freedom for All. Justice for Animals” were seen, and chants of “shame” and “Hey hey, ho ho, homophobia has got to go” could be heard coming from the group.

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The controversy first heated up after Think Progress reported that the Chik-fil-A Foundation donated millions of dollars to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Paul Anderson Youth Home and the US Salvation Army.

All three organizations have a history of being discriminatory. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, for example, bans employees from “homosexual acts” and has a strict “sexual purity” policy.

The progressive organization also reported at the time that Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong, while the Salvation Army has “a long record of opposing legal protections for LGBTQ Americans.”

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Racist and homophobic letter threatening students found at Queen’s University

According to the Guardian, Chik-fil-A also once donated money to Exodus International, known for offering gay “conversion therapy” before shutting down in 2013 and apologizing.

The chain restaurant previously told the BBC: “Our giving has always focused on youth and education. We have never donated with the purpose of supporting a social or political agenda. There are 145,000 people — black, white; gay, straight; Christian, non-Christian — who represent Chick-fil-A.”

Chik-fil-A’s chief executive, Dan Cathy first stirred controversy in 2012 after being asked by Baptist Press about his views on traditional family values.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy responded. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

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meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

Follow @meaghanwray

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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