After In-N-Out Burger’s San Francisco location was temporarily shut down over its failure to bar entry to customers who aren’t vaccinated against coronavirus, the private company received more unflattering attention Thursday following a report that it had donated $40,000 to the California Republican Party while it was working to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom over restrictions he implemented to fight the spread of the pandemic.
The popular California-based fast food chain donated $40,000 to the state GOP in July, the San Francisco Chronicle found.
It has donated at least $150,000 to the GOP since 2016, but this was the company’s first donation to the party in two years.
The company did not respond to a request for comment from the Chronicle on whether the donation was made to support Newsom’s removal.
Public health officials ordered the San Francisco In-N-Out to close Oct. 14 after they found that employees were allowing customers inside who did not have vaccination documentation, defying a city-wide mandate.
The restaurant has since reopened for outdoor dining and carryout.
“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” In-N-Out Chief Legal and Business Officer Arnie Wensinger said in a statement that sparked online backlash and support.
“The restaurant’s leadership just doesn’t care,” wrote San Francisco Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho in response to the chain’s refusal to screen for vaccines. “They don’t care about their workers, and they don’t care about you. Clearly, the business is comfortable with its outsider politics and ethos, especially since being outspoken hasn’t hurt sales yet.”
“Who said corporations can’t act heroically?” Ky. Republican Senator Rand Paul tweeted in support of the company’s stance on the mandate.
In-N-Out’s owner Lynsi Snyder is a devout Christian and her company prints “John 3:16” on its soda cups. The chain has received criticism for being anti-LGBTQ as a result of this messaging in addition to its political donations. Another fast food chain known for its religious ties, Chick-Fil-A, ended financial relationships with organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army in 2019 after years of criticism from the LGBTQ community.