Red Hen Owner Says She'd Kick Sarah Huckabee Sanders Out Again

"We just felt there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions. This appeared to be one."

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Jun 25 2018, 5:16pm

Photo of the Red Hen by Daniel Lin/AP; photo of sanders by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The co-owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, has had a hell of a time since she decided to 86 Sarah Huckabee Sanders from her restaurant on Friday, coming under attack from an army of Trump supporters. But despite all the backlash she's gotten from the right, Stephanie Wilkinson says she doesn't regret a thing.

"I would have done the same thing again," she told the Washington Post. "We just felt there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions. This appeared to be one."

When Sanders came to the Red Hen with her husband and six other people on Friday night, the chef called Wilkinson to say the staff was "a little concerned," Wilkinson told the Post. She headed to the restaurant, and—while Sanders and her friends munched on cheeseboards—called the staff into a huddle in the kitchen, and asked if they wanted Sanders to leave. According to the Post, a handful of her employees are gay, and others have been revulsed by Sanders' treatment of the crisis at the border. They wanted her gone.

Wilkinson took Sanders out to the patio and asked her to leave, telling her the restaurant had "certain standards" like "honesty, and compassion, and cooperation," Wilkinson told the Post. Sanders agreed to go, gathered up her stuff, and headed out, followed by the rest of her party, whose meal Wilkinson comped.

After the White House Press Secretary identified the place by name on Twitter, President Trump called it "filthy," and an army of his supporters got busy screwing with its business—starting a campaign to make a bunch of fake dinner reservations and tanking its rating on Yelp.

The restaurant's Yelp page has since been flooded with more than 11,000 one-star reviews, leaving it at a solid one-and-a-half. Piggybacking on Trump's dig about the place being "dirty," a few pissed-off reviewers have claimed to have found roaches in their food since Sanders was kicked out, while others have compared Wilkinson to a Nazi and called her and her staff "un-American hateful bigots." But folks on the left are coming to Wilkinson's defense, leaving five-star reviews that praise the Red Hen for "taking a stand in favor of honesty and humanity," and lauding her as a "true American."

"I’m not a huge fan of confrontation," Wilkinson told the Post. "I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals."

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