A single Chili's franchisee planned to host a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, but the event has been canceled.
Fifteen percent of all Chili's sales do not go to Planned Parenthood.
On 25 January 2017, RedStateWatcher.com published an article misleadingly titled "Popular Restaurant Chain Offering to Fund Planned Parenthood with Portion of Every Sale." Readers predictably inferred from the headline that the Chili's restaurant chain was "fund[ing] Planned Parenthood ... with every sale," prompting an avalanche of angry social media comments on the chain's Facebook page.
Many articles popular on Facebook are viewed only in news feeds, meaning that many users may have seen the headline but did not read the underlying article:
Ok. I’m really upset over this.
Chili’s is one of my favorite restaurants, but I may need to seriously rethink my dining options.
Chili’s restaurants in two states have apparently joined with Planned Parenthood to raise funds for the infanticide mill.
The article cited an anti-abortion blog but didn't link to any official information from Chili's announcing or confirming the purported Planned Parenthood initiative. None of the versions we could find specified the origin of the claim, and the only substantiation appeared to be a screenshot of a since-deleted post:
We contacted Chili's media relations department for clarification about whether the chain was donating 15 percent of every check to Planned Parenthood in two states, or in any location. In a statement we received from Chili’s® Grill & Bar, a representative for the chain explained:
At Chili’s, we have a longstanding history and take pride in giving back to unite our local communities together. We recognize every community is unique, and encourage our restaurant managers and franchise partners to support causes that help bring communities together and leave a positive impact on our valued Guests, neighbors, friends and families we serve.
Yesterday, we learned that an independent franchise partner of Chili’s in Indiana and Kentucky made the decision to host a Chili’s Give Back Event on behalf of Planned Parenthood Indiana and Kentucky. While our franchise partner had the best intentions; we have received growing feedback and concern from community members regarding the Give Back Event. This feedback does not reflect Chili’s focus on bringing communities together and the event was never intended to be viewed as a partisan event or political statement, therefore we, along with our franchise partner, have decided to cancel the event.
We will more clearly communicate the focus of Chili’s charitable giving efforts, so that our restaurant managers and franchise partners can feel empowered to support local organizations that bring communities together.
The Chili's chain at no point had a plan to donate 15 percent of every check to Planned Parenthood. Rather, a single independent franchisee planned to host a "Chili's Give Back" event in support of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, an initiative that Chili's and the franchisee canceled after myriad objections.
The backlash was similar to that stemming from prior claims that Olive Garden "funded" Planned Parenthood (false), and that Macy's had stopped "funding" the organization (unproven on both counts).