After promising to “amplify Black voices” on Twitter earlier this month, Wendy’s suddenly went quiet on the social platform for nearly three weeks—then returned on Thursday, June 25, with a slew of commitments and a recurring line: “We have never donated to a presidential candidate.”
The fast-food chain is known for its witty Twitter presence and penchant for trolling rival McDonald’s, and is frequently cited as one of few brands that know what they’re doing on social media. So it struck many as odd that the chain would essentially ghost followers, save for a handful of customer service replies, for weeks on end.
On Thursday, Wendy’s returned with a series of tweets that detailed various actions it’s taking to support the Black community. It also acknowledged the death of Rayshard Brooks, a Black man who was killed by a police officer in a Wendy’s parking lot on June 12 in Atlanta.
“So much has happened over the past couple of weeks, including the death of Rayshard Brooks,” the first tweet read. “We’ve taken the time to ensure we’re focused on the best ways to support positive change.”
It went on to announce partnerships with the Urban League and YWCA, although it did not disclose details. The chain also said it will be chatting with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund next week to “learn more about their history supporting students” at historically Black colleges and universities.
On June 3, it pledged to support “social justice, the youth and education in the Black community” with a $500,000 donation, starting with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Two days later, the brand retweeted a single post from the nonprofit about the donation before going dark.
“We know everything can’t be fixed at once,” the June 25 series of tweets concluded. “But we can continue to press forward and push for change one day at a time.”
Wendy’s also, albeit somewhat indirectly, addressed rumors that have cropped up in recent weeks regarding donations it’s made to President Trump’s re-election campaign. Last month, Business Insider published an article highlighting donations made to Trump by James Bodenstedt, CEO of MUY! Companies, which owns Wendy’s franchises across the country.
However, some people misread the information, assuming that Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor made the donations. This led to criticism and spurred the hashtag #WendysIsOverParty at the start of the month.
On Thursday, Wendy’s began responding to followers accusing it of donating to Trump with the same sentence: “We have never donated to a presidential candidate.”
One user made fun of Wendy’s for posting the same response over and over again. In typical Wendy’s fashion, it clapped back.
It’s technically true that Wendy’s has never donated to a presidential candidate, but the reality is slightly murkier. Nelson Peltz, the fast-food chain’s chairman of the board, recently held a fundraiser for President Trump at his house in Palm Beach, Fla. Peltz has also made numerous donations to the Trump campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Additionally, the company’s political action committee (PAC) has donated 75% of its money to Republican federal candidates this year, according to nonprofit OpenSecrets, which tracks money in politics.