Double Standards Abound After Virginia Restaurant Refuses to Serve Sarah Sanders

June 24th, 2018 12:22 AM

Double standards were on wide display Saturday after a Lexington, Virginia restaurant owner's Friday evening refusal to serve White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The Sanders incident has garnered a great deal of press attention, apparently because of the way she reacted to the incident on Twitter.

The Washington Post's 1,300-word story by Avi Selk and Sarah Murray on the incident betrayed its reporters' sympathies with the establishment's owner, Stephanie Wilkinson.

Sanders and seven others attempted to dine at the Red Hen Restaurant. Wilkinson quietly asked Sanders — and only Sanders — to leave:


Wilkinson, in essence, said, "You should leave, but the rest of your party can stay." How (not) classy. One wonders how the owner managed to resist vetting the other Sanders party members' political views, employment, and degree of affiliation with the Trump administration. But the Post duo actually let the owner claim she had a pattern of "keeping politics off the menu": 

She knew Lexington, population 7,000, had voted overwhelmingly against Trump in a county that voted overwhelmingly for him. She knew the community was deeply divided over such issues as Confederate flags. She knew, she said, that her restaurant and its half-dozen servers and cooks had managed to stay in business for 10 years by keeping politics off the menu.

She felt Sanders worked "in the service of an 'inhumane and unethical' administration."

One restaurant employee quickly posted about what had happened on social media. Note how the account of both the poster and the separate person who tweeted it differs from the owner's:


As the Post reported, Wilkinson wanted Sanders to leave, but said everyone else could stay. (The "86" on the whiteboard image above is industry code for "Do Not Serve.")

Sanders' Saturday morning tweet on the incident was remarkably civil. In a civil world, it would be seen as delivering a strong public rebuke to Stephanie Wilkinson and her staff:


But we're not in a civil world:

  • "Blue check" responders on Twitter, including and several media members, are condemning Sanders for naming the restaurant, even though the incident and the restaurant's name were identified on social media hours earlier.
  • Others, including including former Hillary Clinton campaign spokesperson Jesse Ferguson, are comparing the incident to a Colorado baker's refusal, affirmed as within the scope of First Amendment free-expression rights by a recent Supreme Court decision, to bake and design a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. But Sanders didn't insist on being served, even though the Post reports that the kitchen staff were already busy preparing her party's orders. She also hasn't run and won't be running to a "civil rights" commission demanding that the Red Hen be fined out of existence or shut down.
  • CNN's Andrew Kaczynski — who, along with his network, was exposed for "doxxing" (i.e., exposing personal information about) private citizens who have supported Trump in some way — complained that conservatives who supposedly "celebrated" when a Virginia bakery refused to host a 2012 campaign stop by then-Vice President Joe Biden are being hypocritical by now supporting Sanders. How a refusal to throw your business's support behind a candidate during a political campaign compares to refusing to serve a White House press secretary a meal during her off-hours is a complete mystery.
  • Playboy's Brian Karem, whose emotional rants and inappropriate questions at press briefings have defined  rudeness, responded to Sanders' tweet by whining that she hasn't delivered "respect ... in the WH briefing room."

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