Last Wednesday, April 2, was World Autism Awareness Day, which brought autism and the debate over child vaccinations to the forefront of public conversation again. This time, Chili’s restaurants became an unwitting participant in the issue.

Chili’s Grill and Bar had planned to hold a fund-raiser on Monday, April 7, to support autism awareness by donating 10 percent that day's revenues to the National Autism Association. More than 1,200 Chili’s restaurants were set to participate in the charitable event.

As it turns out, the NAA has published on their website an opinion that childhood vaccines are linked to some cases of autism. The fact that Chili’s planned to donate to a group that has spoken out against childhood vaccinations ignited a backlash from parents and others concerned about the “anti-vax” movement. Restaurant-goers and parents reached out to Chili’s via social media to encourage them not to support an organization that expresses dangerous opinions about vaccines that aren’t backed by any solid scientific proof.

The negative feedback prompted Chili’s to cancel their fund-raiser. The company emailed a statement to customers saying they would find another way to support families affected by autism. Via the Chili's Facebook page:

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