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New 'terms' for customers at restaurant that refused to serve Sarah Sanders


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The restaurant co-owner who refused to serve then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and her family says that as long as Donald Trump is in the White House, businesses must operate under different rules of customer service, meaning administration officials “should consider dining at home.”

Stephanie Wilkinson, co-owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, reacted in a commentary published by the Washington Post to a Chicago cocktail bar employee spitting on Eric Trump, the second son of the president.

Wilkinson claimed “no one in the industry condones the physical assault of a patron,” but she said standards of good businesses that have been practiced for years are changing.

Stephanie Wilkinson, owner of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.

“The once-ubiquitous idea that companies exist purely and solely to provide profit to shareholders is withering away like corn husks in the summer sun,” she wrote.

She said the new unwritten policy is that “all are welcome” but “terms and conditions apply.”

“The high-profile clashes rarely involve one citizen fussing at another over the entrees. It’s more often a frustrated person (some of whom are restaurant employees) lashing out at the representatives of an administration that has made its name trashing norms and breaking backs. Not surprising, if you think about it: You can’t call people your enemies by day and expect hospitality from them in the evening,” she wrote.

“So when the day comes that the world feels returned to its normal axis, I expect we’ll see fewer highly charged encounters making headlines. In the meantime, the new rules apply. If you’re directly complicit in spreading hate or perpetuating suffering, maybe you should consider dining at home,” she warned.

In a previous commentary for the Post, Wilkinson complained about the “hate mail” she’s been receiving since her business originally refused to serve Sanders.

She said she drew a line for Sanders over “a person whose actions in the service of our country we felt violated basic standards of humanity.”

But Wilkinson said she didn’t expect the “blowback.”

That included phone line hacking, doxing and “threats to our lives, families and property.”

“It’s one thing to set filters on your email, reset your privacy settings on Instagram and block callers on your phone. It’s a whole different feeling to face a mountain of mail dwarfing your living-room sofa, not knowing which contain abuse (or worse) and which appreciation,” she wrote.

She noted that in addition to the “hate mail” were letters of support.

“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,” she said.

She called for more actions like her own, stating, “Resistance is not futile, for you or your business.”

Wilkinson said after the 2018 incident that Sanders was “inhumane and unethical” in her job of explaining and defending the president’s policies.

Sanders said Wilkinson told her to leave and she cooperated.

Trump criticized the restaurant via Twitter.

Shortly after the incident, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., grabbed the spotlight by urging her supporters to confront Trump officials in restaurants, stores and other public places.

“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd,” Waters said. “And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.

“For these members of his Cabinet who remain and try to defend [Trump], they’re not going to be able to go to a restaurant, they’re not going to be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop [at] a department store. The people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them,” said Waters.

The incident prompted the Secret Service to deploy protection details for Sanders.


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