Wendy’s has announced it will be donating $500,000 to show its commitment to supporting the black community, one day after it received substantial backlash on social media over reports that James Bodenstedt, the CEO of a company that franchises hundreds of Wendy’s, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell locations, had donated more than $440,000 to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
The initial reports led to a trend on social media of users attempting to “cancel” Wendy’s.
The fast-food chain took to Twitter after the backlash to make its latest announcement, saying that it would be “putting our money where our mouth is” and donating $500,000 to support “social justice, the youth and education in the Black community starting with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.”
Wendy’s social media presence — which is usually known for its funny quips and sarcastic retorts — took a moment to be serious amid the George Floyd protests, which are calling for police reform, among other racial issues, and shining a light on the Black Lives Matter movement.
In a Twitter thread, Wendy’s began with “Our voice would be nothing without Black culture. Right now, a lot of people are hurting because of blatant racism against Black people. Their voices need to be heard. Period,” the brand wrote along with the Black Lives Matter hashtag.
It followed up with a promise for the $500,000 donation, as well as a vow to use its platform “to amplify Black voices.”
The controversy around Wendy’s started because of Bodenstedt’s donations, which were reported by Business Insider back in May, ahead of a roundtable discussion between members of the White House and members of the restaurant industry regarding coronavirus relief efforts. Bodenstedt, the CEO of Muy! Companies, was reportedly the first fast-food franchise operator to participate in such discussions. The White House meeting also took place after Bodenstedt had donated more than $440,000 to Trump’s reelection campaign, the latest being a $200,000 donation to the Trump Victory PAC in March, according to Business Insider.
The newest announcement has seemingly had a mostly positive response from those on Twitter. When questioned about the backlash, the brand responded, and maintained that the Wendy’s brand has never contributed to a campaign, nor has the Wendy’s CEO.
It also shared its response to the backlash, writing that the team at Wendy’s “had to sit back, listen and educate ourselves,” but are “here to talk now.”
In a comment to Fox News, Wend's reiterated its reason behind the donation.
"We shared our commitment to support social justice, youth and education in the Black community. The donation will go to Thurgood Marshall College Fund and other organizations that advocate for social justice and youth. "
Fox News’ Michael Bartiromo contributed to this report.