I consider this very good news. Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of the now infamous Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, VA that kicked out White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and seven members of her family, has resigned as the executive director of a group of local business owners who work to promote the community.
This came after a poll was conducted on whether she should stay or go. I voted in that poll against her and for once it made a difference. So much for her envisioning herself as some kind of local hero over her disgraceful behavior.
Wilkinson told The Washington Post that she asked Sanders to leave because the restaurant employs several LGBT employees and Sanders’ defense of President Trump’s call to bar transgender people from the military were antithetical to her beliefs.
Wilkinson already had to take down her Facebook page because she got hammered and hacked there. I also hear that business for Wilkinson has taken a severe hit. After Sanders was 86’d from the Red Hen, conservatives and Trump supporters took to Yelp and blasted Wilkinson. That was only hours after the incident took place. Then protesters that support the Trump administration showed up outside the Red Hen.
That got media attention. Some carried enormous Trump flags and donned red “Make America Great Again” hats. Others carried signs asking for tolerance and civility. And as it kicked into high gear, many just showed up to watch. The incident sparked many protests and a whole lot of criticism from Trump supporters and even some Democrats. The Republican Party of Virginia has called for a boycott of the business.
A raucous demonstration occurred when people gathered outside the Red Hen to protest the restaurant’s treatment of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“I’m appalled at the way they treated the press secretary, and I think if people don’t make a stand, that kind of stuff will continue around the state and around the country,” said Ian McDonald, 34, of Accomack County. “So we’ve got to send a message that it’s not acceptable. I think by [Wilkinson] making the choice to do this, she opened herself up to a fired-up country,” Paulette DelCasale, from Georgia, said while protesting outside the restaurant. “I believe this city is losing its identity,” said Simon Islam, a senior at Washington and Lee University, which is in Lexington. “It’s become too liberal, and it’s had a negative impact.”
Lauren Green at Fox News asked a very good question over all of this:
“The owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia missed a prime opportunity to live out the framed words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that are on display in the restaurant’s window: “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
“Those words are very close to the sentiment of President Abraham Lincoln, who after the Civil War said of the Southern combatants: “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
If restaurant owner Stephanie Wilkinson so disagreed with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, the Trump administration and all Cabinet members so strongly, why didn’t she see Sanders’ presence in her restaurant as a gift from God to try to transform an enemy into a friend?”
Indeed, it was a missed opportunity that could have actually helped Wilkinson’s cause. Evidently, the Golden Rule is much more difficult than it sounds: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
VA State Representative Ben Cline profusely apologized for the actions of the Red Hen restaurant owner and made it clear they do not support what she did. She also stalked Sanders’ in-laws when they left and went to another restaurant where she assembled a mob to harass them. Wilkinson proceeded to protest against them there as well.
Cline also claims that Stephanie Wilkinson is a cousin of Meryl Streep’s. Why am I not surprised. Her actions negatively impacted the Facebook page for The Historic City of Lexington, VA. It had to be shut down after getting deluged with negative comments on all this. They were the ones who ran the poll and whose board Wilkinson was removed from as director of the downtown business district. 80% wanted her gone and that was all it took for her to resign.
The Red Hen restaurant itself has evidently shut its doors for an undetermined amount of time. Justin Peery, the owner of Good Place Farms Bed & Breakfast, which hosted the Sanders family last week, said Wilkinson will not reopen the restaurant until July 5. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one. Sounds like justice to me.
Wilkinson has the right to kick out whomever she wants, but she also has the right to go out of business when people stop going there. Things just aren’t going her way. So much for her version of morality. The extended shutdown will cost the employees and owners significantly.
Main Street Lexington’s Board President, Elizabeth Branner, accepted Wilkonson’s resignation yesterday morning. “Considering the events of the past weekend, Stephanie felt it best that for the continued success of Main Street Lexington, she should step aside,” Branner wrote in an email. She’s right… some mistakes you just can’t come back from.
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