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Chili's cancels autism fundraiser over public pressure

Anyone who has ever seen Star Wars Episode I. The Phantom Menace should remember the classic line delivered by Captain Tarpals to Jar Jar Binks: “You-sa in big doo doo dis time!” This same line could also be told to the upper management of Chili's after they announced that the popular restaurant chain will cancel a fundraiser to benefit autism.

Chili's, located at 6720 Rogers Avenue Fort Smith, AR 72903
Marc Hayot

The dilemma began when Chili's announced that they would host a Give Back Night on April 7, 2014, where the casual-dining chain would give back a certain percentage of every guest's check to benefit the National Autism Association (NAA). Not long after announcing the Give Back Night a large number of people took to Chili's Facebook and Twitter page and decried the restaurant chain because the NAA has posted on its site the possible correlation between vaccinations and the onset of Autism. After the receiving numerous complaints, Chili's decided to cancel the fundraiser according to its own blogging site and Facebook page.

The problem that this examiner has with this issue, is that Chili's caved too quickly under pressure from the misinformed. The reality is that while vaccinations can help trigger autism in children, it does not trigger it in all children. The NAA is aware of this and has even posted this information on its site. While Chili's was worried about one public-relations snafu, it may have inadvertently caused another as evidenced by the current tone of the posts on Chili's Facebook page.

For now Chili's is considering other alternatives for a Give Back Night, it is this examiner's hope that whatever charity or nonprofit that the restaurant chooses to sponsor, Chili's will follow through with their fundraiser.

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