A co-owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave the restaurant on moral grounds, due to her work in the Trump administration. Sanders is the White House Press Secretary to President Donald Trump.
The move has garnered mixed reactions and the restaurant has been bombarded with fake Yelp reviews, with some praising the restaurant for its moral stance, while others criticized the move. Yelp announced that it will actively clean up the review page from politically motivated reviews.
Stephanie Wilkinson, the co-owner of the “farm-to-table” restaurant, received a phone call from the chef that Sanders was in her restaurant. Wilkinson told the Washington Post that she believed Sarah Huckabee Sanders worked for an “inhumane and unethical” administration.
After describing to the newspaper her disdain for confrontation, Wilkinson felt it was her moral duty to ask Sanders to leave.
“This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”
TheWashington Post says that Lexington had voted overwhelmingly against Trump, although the 72-year-old president won Lexington’s county (Rockridge) with a similar number of votes.
Wilkinson said that her staff voted for Sanders to leave after she asked them for their opinion on serving her.
“Several Red Hen employees are gay. They knew Sanders had defended Trump’s desire to bar transgender people from the military. This month, they had all watched her evade questions and defend a Trump policy that caused migrant children to be separated from their parents.”
The co-owner told the Post that she asked Sarah Sanders to talk on the patio and politely asked her to leave.
Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 23, 2018
The 35-year-old, who was accompanied by her husband and some friends, decided to leave the restaurant and did not cause a scene.
Sarah Sanders is whining about not being served at the Red Hen restaurant, because she is a terrible person who lies for Trump and hurts this country. Yet, she fought the right for a business to not serve someone because they’re gay. Cry me a river. Go eat at a kkk restaurant.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) June 23, 2018
Critics of the Red Hen’s decision said that it was discriminatory. However, defenders of the restaurant’s moral clause compared the situation to a recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Others pointed out that Sarah Sanders said last year that she is okay with gays being denied service at businesses.
.@PressSec says that @realDonaldTrump's support of "religious liberty" would include a baker putting a sign in the window saying, "We don't bake cakes for gay weddings" #MasterpieceCakeshop pic.twitter.com/BES376f2V8
— GLAAD (@glaad) December 5, 2017
When asked on whether signs that deny service to gay people should be part of religious liberties, Sanders responded, “I believe that would include that.”
Wilkinson said that she has no regrets about asking Sanders to leave. Trump supporters have trolled the restaurant with fake reservations. The Inquisitr previously reported that Sarah Sanders using her official government Twitter account to criticize a private business may violate ethics law.