In an op-ed for The Washington Post this Tuesday, the owner of Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, said that despite being on the receiving end of hate mail and threats after she refused to serve White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last June, business is still thriving.
Stephanie Wilkinson wrote that “within 24 hours” of her decision to ask Sanders to leave before her meal was served, “the restaurant’s phone line was hacked, my staff and I were doxxed, and threats to our lives and families and property were pouring in through every available channel.”
“Thousands of fake Yelp reviews torpedoed our ratings, and dozens of people attempted to lock up our tables with reservations they had no intention of honoring,” she wrote. “Pundits lamented the prospect of “red restaurants” and “blue restaurants.” In less than three days, President Trump had mocked us on Twitter.”
The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2018
According to Wilkinson, she couldn’t serve Sanders due to the policies she represents, primarily the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border.
“Faced with the prospect of serving a fine meal to a person whose actions in the service of our country we felt violated basic standards of humanity, we balked,” she wrote.
Wilkinson pointed out that the initial response after her actions went viral weren’t all negative.
“For every wish that our business die a painful death, there was a dollar bill or a generous check or an order for a gift certificate,” pointed out.
Nearly a year later, things are looking good and her business is doing well.
When we opened after a 10-day hiatus, our dining room was full. In the following weeks, people who had never been to the Shenandoah Valley traveled out of their way to eat with us. Hundreds of orders for our Red Hen spice blend poured in. And the love spread far beyond our door, as supporters sent thousands of dollars in donations in our honor to our local food pantry, our domestic violence shelter and first responders.After nearly a year,
I’m happy to say that business is still good. Better than good, actually. And besides the boost to our area charities, our town’s hospitality and sales revenue have gone up, too.
Read her full op-ed at The Washington Post.
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