Chili's has abandoned its scheduled fundraiser for the National Autism Association this week after backlash from customers who didn't want their money going towards a supposed "anti-vaccine" charity.
The popular Tex-Mex chain restaurant planned to donate 10 percent of customers' April 7 checks to the NAA in honor of National Autism Awareness Month, but canceled the fundraiser Sunday.
"While we remain committed to supporting the children and families affected by autism, we are canceling Monday's Give Back Event based on the feedback we heard from our guests," a Chili’s spokesperson said in a statement. "We believe autism awareness continues to be an important cause to our guests and team members, and we will find another way to support this worthy effort in the future with again our sole intention being to help families affected by autism."
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The announcement that Chili's would be donating money to the NAA angered patrons who see the charity as supporting non-vaccination. Indeed, the NAA website states that the organization "believes vaccinations
can trigger or exacerbate autism in some, if not many, children, especially those who are genetically predisposed to immune, autoimmune, or inflammatory conditions."
"I am incredibly disappointed with [Chili's] and their decision to host an event/contribute funds to an organization that will directly result in sick and dead children," one person commented on Chili's Facebook page
. "Hosting a fundraiser for an organization that encourages parents not to vaccinate their children is not only irresponsible, but also unforgivable. If your restaurant goes through with the fundraiser on April 7, I will never eat at one of your restaurants again."
"How irresponsible of Chili's to even consider supporting an anti vaccination organization," someone else wrote. "Chili's should immediately sever all ties to this, an any other organization that promotes GROSS IGNORANCE. Serious diseases are starting to re-emerge around the country already because of non-vaccinators."
Other patrons commended Chili's after the chain announced the cancellation of the fundraiser.
"Chili's you did the right thing in backing out of that event," one user commented. "Vaccines are an important community health program and their importance should not be denied."
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