Wendy's Responds To Twitter Backlash With A Big Donation

Yesterday, we reported on the ongoing Twitter campaign to boycott fast food chain Wendy's, promoted using the hashtag #WendysIsOverParty. The boycott began in response to a Business Insider article revealing that the CEO of Muy Cos. (a company that owns many Wendy's, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut franchise locations,) James Bodenstedt, has donated over $440,000 to the efforts to reelect President Donald Trump since 2018. Bodenstedt's most recent donation, made to the Trump Victory PAC, was for the considerable sum of $200,000. This was problematic because Wendy's was the first chain to advise Trump on reopening restaurants in the wake of COVID-19.

After a few days remaining quiet, Wendy's released a series of tweets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the thread, they pledged to donate $500,000 to social justice causes, specifically to aid the youth and in education within the Black community. The first cause the company has chosen to support is the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (a non-profit that supports educational excellence and offers leadership development at Historically Black Colleges and Predominantly Black Institutions), and has promised to provide receipts as proof of their seriousness. Wendy's stated that they recognized their voice would be "nothing without Black culture" and that they hear their staff members and customers loud and clear, and will strive to do better in the future and are committed to doing the work necessary to growth.

Some Twitter users felt Wendy's was using donations to avoid discussing political contributions

Delish reports that following the Twitter thread announcing their plans for donations, some users began pressuring Wendy's to speak directly to the donations made by Bodenstedt to the Trump campaign. The chain responded to one user's question, saying that Wendy's and the company's actual CEO Todd Penegor have never and will never donate to a presidential campaign. Other Twitter users also came to the chain's defense, stating that a quick internet search would reveal that Muy Cos. only owns 25 or so Wendy's locations.

While CNN fact checked the claim that neither Wendy's nor Penegor have ever donated to any presidential campaigns and found the statement to be true, they do note that Wendy's operates its own PAC, the Wendy's Political Action Committee, to which Penegor has donated $6,000. This PAC has not made any donations to presidential candidates, but has given money to congressional candidates, of which the PAC has donated to more Republicans than Democrats. Wendy's did not respond to CNN's request for a statement on the timing of the company's donation announcement in direct relation to the political donation-based backlash they have been receiving.