Restaurant chain shuns anti-vaccine crackpots
It’s been quite a while since I last dined at a Chili’s restaurant.
I think I’ll soon pay those folks a visit.
Chili’s Grill & Bar recently announced that, in an effort to mark Autism Awareness Month, hundreds of its locations across the country would donate 10 percent of customers’ checks on April 7 to the National Autism Association. But thanks to that particular group’s stance on vaccines, that move sparked considerable controversy.
On its website, the National Autism Association claims that “vaccinations can trigger or exacerbate autism in some, if not many, children.” The organization also directs supporters to check out the National Vaccine Information Center to learn more about vaccines’ relationship to autism — a group that has an official-sounding name, but that is actually notorious for spreading anti-vaccine propaganda.
In response, pro-vaccine groups started calling for a boycott of the restaurant chain. Angry comments flooded Chili’s official Facebook page. “Hosting a fundraiser for an organization that encourages parents not to vaccinate their children is not only irresponsible, but also unforgivable,” one comment reads. “Come for dinner, stay for pertussis,” another jokes.
It didn’t take Chili’s long to address the controversy. On Sunday, the company canceled the fundraiser.