Restaurant chain Chili’s has abruptly cancelled their plans raise funds on Monday for a national autism group after receiving negative feedback from the public over the group’s anti-vaccination stance.
In a statement released Sunday night, Chili’s said:
Chili’s is committed to giving back to the communities in which our guests live and work through local and national Give Back Events. 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.
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. At Chili’s, we want to make every guest feel special and we thank all of our loyal guests for your thoughtful questions and comments.
Chili’s had previously announced that they would be donating 10 percent of customers’ checks to the National Autism Association in honor of National Autism Awareness month.
Concern arose when it was pointed out that the NAA claimed on their website that vaccinations can expedite autism in “some, if not many, children.”
Although the NAA doesn’t make any specific claims about vaccinations and autism, it does direct users to the National Vaccine Information Center, a nonprofit organization which has been described as “… the most powerful anti-vaccine organization in America, and its relationship with the U.S. government consists almost entirely of opposing federal efforts aimed at vaccinating children.”
Chili’s had previously addressed the grow controversy on Facebook writing:
“The intent of our 4/7 National Give Back Event is not to express a view on this matter, but rather to support the families affected by autism,” Chili’s writes in the post. “Our choice to partner with the National Autism Association was based on the percentage of donations that would go directly to providing financial assistance to families and supporting programs that aid the development and safety of children with autism.”
Chili’s has not made any additional statements since the press release.