National chain Chili's wanted to tie corporate philanthropy into autism awareness, but set off a firestorm by pairing with an anti-vaccination group.
"If you believe that a great deal of corporate charity is only for show, not about serious concern for the beneficiaries of philanthropy, the restaurant chain Chili's has just provided a data point to support your view. (It's a view we share.) Chili's announced Monday that it canceled a nationwide 'Give Back Event' on behalf of the National Autism Assn., a group that promotes the wholly discredited and disreputable idea that child vaccinations are an important cause of autism. The event would have funneled 10% of today's 'qualified' sales at lunch or dinner at more than 1,200 Chili's restaurants to the group. According to a statement issued by the chain, the event was canceled as a result of 'the feedback we heard from our guests.' That feedback included a surfeit of negative comments on the Chili's Facebook page, on other social media and in the press." -- Michael Hiltzik, the Los Angeles Times