A Twitter user posted a screenshot of one of co-founder Mark Greenberg’s donations to Trump in 2016, alongside text that read: “In case y’all are wondering why @pluckers is so quiet,” referring to the fact that, at that point on the evening of Wednesday, June 3, the chicken wing company hadn’t shared any messages of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement or the protests, which began late last week, unlike other restaurants and companies.
That’s when the original Twitter user checked out the campaign finance database from the Federal Election Commission, which is accessible to the public. Greenberg donated twice on August 23, 2016: $2,700 to the Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. committee, and then $2,700 to the Trump Victory committee.
In response to the tweet, people have been expressing their disappointment and dismay to the point where Pluckers was trending on Twitter locally. Many have vowed to go to get chicken wings from other restaurants instead, and others offered restaurant recommendations, especially of black-owned restaurants such as The Rolling Rooster and Gossip Shack.
A day after the tweet, Pluckers posted a message to its social media accounts on the afternoon of Thursday, June 4. It wrote that George Floyd’s death in police custody was “painful to watch” and “an unnecessary example of excessive force and the cruel nature of abusive police officers.” The company noted that it tries “to be a safe haven” for everyone and that it treats its employees “with blindness to color, religion, gender, or sexual preference.”
Commenters on the posts called out that the message didn’t include “Black Lives Matter,” and expressed disappointment that the company hadn’t announced it was donating to organizations supporting black communities and protesters.
Later, on the evening of Friday, June 5, Pluckers posted another message to its social media accounts from Greenberg. He wrote that he wanted “to apologize to all of you for the pain that my donation and this situation has caused to any of you.” He admitted to the donation in 2016, but that he does “not agree with the deplorable language and the divise actions of the President over the last 4 years.”
Greenberg wrote that his actions “certainly did not and does not represent the views of Pluckers,” while also noting that his fellow co-founders Sean Greenberg and David Paul have “differing opinions on politics” and voted for different presidential candidates that year. He said that they “all strongly agree that Black Lives Matter” and that the company has to “do [its] part to make our country a better place with equality and opportunity for the black community.”
To that end, Greenberg said that the company was going to donate ten times the amount of one of his donations to the NAACP — a total of $27,000 — but didn’t acknowledge the second donation to the Trump campaign.
The company is also going to create a committee with representatives from each of its 25 of locations, which will select three other charities for additional $5,000 donations.
Update, June 8, 12:53 p.m. This article, originally published on Friday, June 5, has been updated to include Pluckers’s latest statement and donation pledge.