June 24, 2018
By now you've probably heard the news that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her posse were asked to leave a dining establishment in rural Virginia Friday night, Lexington's The Red Hen.
In Swedesboro, N.J., a different Red Hen -- completely unaffiliated with the one Sanders visited -- has heard the news all too well. As the Virginia restaurant continues to get swarmed with five-star and one-star reviews online, depending on where the reviewer falls politically, the New Jersey store has been getting similar feedback, despite not being involved in the incident.
As of Sunday morning the New Jersey restaurant's Facebook was swarmed with dozens of one-star reviews, including, "[T]o turn away a customer is not right," "All RED HENS need to be boycotted," and a zealous, "I wouldn't eat here if my life depended on it after what you did to SARAH!!!"
At the same time, the restaurant has been getting five-star reviews from others who clearly didn't double check the location, including, "America has your back!" and "I think you are one GREAT restauranteur with outstanding principles! If I'm ever in VA, your restaurant will be my first stop for dinner!"
While some users have been trying to correct these non-patrons, the restaurant tried to set the record straight further on Saturday, writing, "Kindly check your facts before you erroneously defame an innocent business on Facebook in attempt to destroy their business where they welcome all, irrespective of their race, religion, views or opinions."
Despite this PSA, the post still garnered its fair share of angry comments... way to go, Internet.
Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of the Virginia establishment, told the Washington Post that members of her staff did not want to serve Sanders because of her work with the Trump Administration. Pulling Sanders aside, Sanders obliged in what sounds like a relatively calm encounter. Of course, shortly after, social media blew up as a few posts describing the encounter, including one from Sanders, were posted.
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
Attorney Walter Schaub noted that Sanders' tweet, coming from her official White House, is a violation of an ethics code.
Sarah, I know you don’t care even a tiny little bit about the ethics rules, but using your official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635.702(a). It’s the same as if an ATF agent pulled out his badge when a restaurant tried to throw him/her out. https://t.co/Fj6OfBAdew— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 23, 2018
So, just to reiterate: the two eateries are not in a shared chain of restaurants. They are not affiliated. They just happen to share the same name. We good?