The owner of the Red Hen restaurant — the Lexington, Virginia, restaurant that booted then-Trump administration press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last summer — has ridden to the rescue of a Chicago cocktail server who spit on Eric Trump last week, counseling Trump administration members who do not want to be assaulted to forget about dining out.
Stephanie Wilkinson penned an op-ed in The Washington Post Saturday claiming, at first, that “no one in the [restaurant[ industry condones the physical assault of a patron,” but goes on to warn that Trump administration officials and others associated with President Donald Trump’s policies should know that assault and battery is a definite possibility every time they choose to patronize an unfamiliar establishment.
Eric Trump was sipping cocktails at the high-end Chicago bar, The Aviary, Tuesday evening when a server spit on him, according to the local Chicago ABC news affiliate. The Secret Service immediately stepped in to detain the woman, but Trump declined to press charges. Instead, she has been placed “on leave” by the restaurant while they determine how to handle the situation.
Trump called the incident “purely a disgusting act by somebody who clearly has emotional problems,” and even Chicago’s newly elected mayor, Lori Lightfoot, condemned the attack, calling it “repugnant.” The Aviary called the incident “troubling,” and condemned their own server’s actions, though not in the strongest possible terms.
Wilkinson, readers may recall, asked Huckabee Sanders, point blank, to leave her restaurant back in June 2018. Huckabee Sanders complied with the Red Hen proprietor’s wishes, but later tweeted about the incident. Wilkinson defended herself and her decision, and even said the move was good for business, though the city of Lexington, Virginia, disagreed, telling Newsweek in September that it was forced to spend money on a tourism campaign after being hit with a barrage of bad PR.
Wilkinson, in her op-ed, said that while assault is never acceptable, the “rules are changing,” and customers expect the institutions they patronize to ascribe to a code of “ethics”: “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.”
That “culture of ethics” apparently includes giving employees free reign to express their political ideologies while clocked into their day jobs, even if that “expression” is actually “assault and battery.”
“The rules have shifted. It’s no longer okay to serve sea bass from overfished waters or to allow smoking at the table. It’s not okay to look away from the abusive chef in the kitchen or the handsy guest in the dining room. And it’s not okay to ask employees, partners or management to clock out of their consciences when they clock in to work,” Wilkinson writes.
“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,” she continues. “Not surprising, if you think about it: You can’t call people your enemies by day and expect hospitality from them in the evening.”
If you don’t want to be “held accountable” for your actions by the people who serve you food or make your drinks, Wilkinson argues, it’s best if you simply stay home — and that’s all the fault of the Trump administration who, Wilkinson says, started it.
That’s quite the argument. Wilkinson doesn’t seem to consider that there are others, perhaps in her own restaurant, quietly eating her food and drinking her drinks, that are opposed to her political ideals. Or that the tables could, some day, turn; Wilkinson is willing to support the abuse of Trump administration officials, but probably doesn’t feel the same about a server who might refuse to serve a pro-abortion politician, even though such a person would fit well within her protected class.
Wilkinson, instead, believes she’s able to dictate who can be the victim of an attack because she’s on the “right side.”