The franchise which owns Panera Bread (the chain of restaurants) is being sued by an employee over discrimination she faced after feeling pressured to reveal to her (Christian) supervisor that she was Pagan. The filing is here.
I no longer have a television, but when I lived with my parents and they did nothing but watch news in the morning and old movies the rest of the time, I sometimes caught ads for Panera Bread restaurants. They struck me, and looking back still strike me, as something for People Who Are Not Me. This is a phenomenon I’ve become attuned to lately thanks to the existence of WandaVision as a television show, but with regards to Panera Bread, I distinctly remember ads that focused on white middle class women, possibly career oriented, going out for their girl’s lunch or whatever, laughing because they had no problems.
Plus they marketed themselves as having the cleanest, freshest possible food, and knowing that a ton of plastic now exists in the food chain, I’m going to press X to doubt on that one. But the gimmick did get them to stand out from Olive Garden, despite OG having the superior breadsticks.
Basically, the target audience for Panera Bread was and is neoliberal “vegetarian/vegan” types who have money to throw around on food products that make them feel superior to the rest of us.
The exact opposite of people who turn to paganism, witchcraft, and The Old Ways. (Also the exact opposite of people who feel the need to riot, but I’ll leave that conversation for others, if they would like.) Witchcraft historically has been the recourse of the dispossessed (I’m sure I’m paraphrasing something from someone here). It still is. There was a trend back when President Fake Tan was in office to hex him every full moon. I never joined in, but many pagan critics were concerned that advertising the practice would allow Christian “prayer warrior” types to counteract their magic. After all, one of the sides of the pyramid is “to keep silent”. But I understand why others felt the need to do such a thing, since he was hell bent on running this country into the ground and I’m sure we’re all sleeping a lot easier now that he can no longer do so (except the aforementioned prayer warrior types who want their Gilead).
All of this is to say that I’m not exceptionally surprised that this happened at a Panera Bread, to such an egregious degree that it is now being filed for judicial proceedings. I don’t know if the company will settle, but I hope they don’t. Part of me is actually secretly very eager to watch this play out in court, in front of cameras, being billed as a “witch trial” by some media outlet or another. I think that would be a helluva thing.
But I won’t get my hopes up.