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Resist In-N-Out? Democratic leader calls for boycott of fast-food restaurant, citing GOP donations

Los Angeles Times logo Los Angeles Times 8/30/2018 Dakota Smith and Melissa Etehad

Will the California resistance have the stomach to do without its Double-Doubles?

The head of the California Democratic Party this week called for a boycott of the popular West Coast fast-food chain In-N-Out after a public filing revealed that the company had donated $25,000 to the state's Republican Party.

Party Chairman Eric Bauman in a tweet Wednesday linked to a story about the contribution, wrote, "Et tu In-N-Out?" with the hashtag #BoycottInNOut.

Other Twitter users also expressed their disappointment, announcing they will no longer patronize the restaurant.

"Looks like my family and I will be boycotting your restaurants from now on. You donate to the GOP, that means you stand with Trump and all his bigotry," one Twitter user said.

Bauman didn't return a call Thursday morning.

In-N-Out Executive Vice President Arnie Wensinger said in a statement Thursday that the company "made equal contributions to both Democratic and Republican" political action committees in California in 2018.

"For years, In-N-Out Burger has supported lawmakers who, regardless of political affiliation, promote policies that strengthen California and allow us to continue operating with the values of providing strong pay and great benefits for our associates," Wensinger said. "We have been fortunate to do business in this great state for almost 70 years. While it is unfortunate that our contributions to support both political parties in California has caused concern with some groups, we believe that bipartisan support is a fair and consistent approach that best serves the interests of our company and all of our customers."

Wensinger added that the company and its foundations contribute "millions of dollars to hundreds of organizations in California to prevent child abuse, human trafficking and substance addiction."

California has become the center of the "resistance" to President Trump, clashing with him on myriad issues, including immigration, climate change and even wildfires.

But it remains to be seen whether the movement can extend to In-N-Out, an iconic California brand that has long been a point of pride to residents.

The eatery was founded by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948. The flagship restaurant is in Baldwin Park.

From its legendary burgers to its classic Animal-Style Fries, In-N-Out has garnered a cult following that reaches beyond state boundaries.

The burger chain's support of the California Republican Party isn't new, however. In 2016, the restaurant donated $30,000 to the party, according to state filings.

And this is far from the first time that politics and food have clashed.

In 2008, there was a much-publicized boycott of famed L.A. Mexican restaurant El Coyote after it was revealed that a manager had contributed to a campaign for a proposition that would ban same-sex marriage in California.

Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A faced a boycott in 2012 after its president voiced opposition to same-sex marriage.

11:50 a.m.: This article was updated with a statement from In-N-Out's vice president.

This article was originally published at 11:35 a.m.

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