Chili's cancels autism fundraiser over vaccine backlash

The restaurant chain's fundraiser would have given 10 percent of Monday's revenue to the National Autism association.
By Kate Stanton  |  April 7, 2014 at 8:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 7 (UPI) -- Chili's Grill and Bar has canceled a nationwide fundraiser in partnership with the National Autism Association, after critics pointed out the the NAA claimed on its website that vaccines can cause or lead to autism in "some, if not many, children."

"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," Chili's said in a statement.

The chain had planned to donate 10 percent of its Monday table sales to the NAA.

The Center for Disease Control and other researchers have repeatedly stated that there is no reason to believe that vaccinations cause autism.

"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," Chili's added. "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."

NAA president Wendy Fournier told USA Today that the organization isn't against vaccines.

"We're not saying vaccines are the cause of autism," Fournier said. "All we're saying on the vaccine issue is, like any other medical decision you make for your family, it should be made with all the information available."

[io9, USA Today]

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