Stephanie Wilkinson — the restaurant co-owner who last year made headlines after kicking out White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders due to her affiliation with President Donald Trump — penned an op-ed for the Washington Post in which she defends restaurant workers “lashing out” at Trump officials.
‘If you’re an unsavory individual’
“If you’re an unsavory individual — of whatever persuasion or affiliation — we have no legal or moral obligation to do business with you,” Wilkinson, who co-owns the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, wrote for the Post, adding that “restaurants are now part of the soundstage for our ongoing national spectacle.”
“The high-profile clashes rarely involve one citizen fussing at another over the entrees,” she added to her op-ed. “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. Not surprising, if you think about it: You can’t call people your enemies by day and expect hospitality from them in the evening.”
In addition, Wilkinson seemed to equate the motivation behind such political “lashing out” to standing up to verbal and sexual abuse: “It’s no longer okay to look away from the abusive chef or the handsy guest in the dining room,” she wrote for the Post. “And it’s not okay to ask employees, partners or management to clock out of their consciences when they clock in to work.”
Such politically tuned-in businesses, she added, are what employees and customers are demanding.
“It’s about values, and accountability to values, in business,” she wrote in her op-ed. “On a variety of levels, pressure is increasing on companies to articulate and stand by a code. Customers are demonstrating that they want to patronize companies that share their values. Our workforce also increasingly demands that employers establish a set of ethical standards. 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.”
‘Maybe you should consider dining at home’
Wilkinson — who penned a Post op-ed in May on the anniversary of her Sanders dust-up, saying her “resistance” was worth it — concluded her latest piece with a stark declaration.
“New rules apply,” she wrote for the paper. “If you’re directly complicit in spreading hate or perpetuating suffering, maybe you should consider dining at home.”