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Owner of restaurant that booted out Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks out
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Owner of restaurant that booted out Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks out

The owner of The Red Hen restaurant that kicked out Sarah Huckabee Sanders has revealed why she refused to serve the White House Press Secretary.

On Friday night Sanders was asked to leave the Lexington, Virginia restaurant where she was dining with her seven family members.

Restaurant owner Stephanie Wilkinson said she took a staff vote before asking Sanders to leave. When they voted to boot her out, Wilkinson complied.

'Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave. They said "yes,"' Wilkinson said to the Washington Post. 

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Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of The Red Hen in Lexington, asked the Press Secretary to leave the restaurant on Friday evening The Press Secretary (pictured on June 14) has received intense criticism over recent days as the public face of President Trump's policy to separate child migrants from their families

Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of The Red Hen in Lexington, (left) asked the Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (right) to leave the restaurant on Friday evening 

Sanders tweeted on Saturday morning to say the incident at The Red Hen in Lexington on Friday night 'says far more' about the manager than it did about her

Sanders tweeted on Saturday morning to say the incident at The Red Hen in Lexington on Friday night 'says far more' about the manager than it did about her

'I'm not a huge fan of confrontation. 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,' she added.

Wilkinson said the chef at the Red Hen called her around 8pm to report Sanders had arrived at the small farm-to-table restaurant.  

After she arrived and saw Sanders and company dining on a cheese board, she halted the workers in the kitchen, who were preparing the party's main course, to ask them how they felt. 

Some of the restaurant workers identify as gay while others prefer to remain nonpolitical in the work space.

Wilkinson said she bore in mind the Trump's administrations agenda to ban transgender people from entering the military and his zero tolerance policy that separated migrant families at the border in taking her poll. 

She added that Lexington is a small blue town that voted against Trump.  

After the staff voted to have the press secretary leave, Wilkinson approached her table. 

'I'm the owner. I'd like you to come out to the patio with me for a word,' she said.

'I was babbling a little, but I got my point across in a polite and direct fashion. I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation,' she added. 

'I said, "I’d like to ask you to leave,"' to which Sanders replied 'That’s fine. I’ll go.'

The Red Hen's Facebook page is being bombarded with comments from people across the political spectrum, ranging from supportive comments from Trump critics to abuse from his supporters.

The Red Hen's Facebook page is being bombarded with comments from people across the political spectrum, ranging from supportive comments from Trump critics to abuse from his supporters.

Since then supporters have gathered outside the Lexington restaurant, some leaving messages of solidarity and flowers at the door 

Since then supporters have gathered outside the Lexington restaurant, some leaving messages of solidarity and flowers at the door 

The restaurant's website has been hacked to say 'erectile dysfunction' in the description box

The restaurant's website has been hacked to say 'erectile dysfunction' in the description box

The Yelp page is also on Active Cleanup Alert after it was inundated with one and five star reviews by supporters on both sides of the political spectrum

The Yelp page is also on Active Cleanup Alert after it was inundated with one and five star reviews by supporters on both sides of the political spectrum

Wilkinson said the other members of her party were welcome to stay, but they followed Sanders as she left.

'They offered to pay. I said, "No. It’s on the house,"' Wilkinson said. 

Sanders took to Twitter Saturday morning to slam Wilkinson saying: 'Last night I was told by the owner of The 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.'

Since the incident the Yelp page for The Red Hen has been inundated with one and five star reviews from people on both sides of the political spectrum, bringing the restaurant's score down to 2.5 stars.

Meanwhile, an unaffiliated restaurant with the same name in Washington D.C., has also been caught in the crossfire and is distancing itself from the scandal. 

As of Saturday evening the restaurant's page was on Active Cleanup Alert featuring a disclaimer banner saying it is being monitored for content relating to media reports.

To add to the chaos, a hacker reworked the menu for the Red Hen that appears in a Bing search to say 'Erectile Dysfunction' in the description box. 

Staff member Jaike Foley-Schultz took to Facebook to recall the encounter where he told Sanders he could only serve her for two minutes.

'I just served Sarah Huckabee Sanders for a total of 2 minutes before my owner kicked her out along with 7 of her other family members,' he posted on Facebook. 

Jaike Foley-Schultz, a server at The Red Hen in Lexington, said the White House Press Secretary lasted just two minutes in the restaurant on Friday night until his boss asked her to leave

Jaike Foley-Schultz, a server at The Red Hen in Lexington, said the White House Press Secretary lasted just two minutes in the restaurant on Friday night until his boss asked her to leave

The post went viral after Brennan Gilmore, the director of nonprofit green group Clean Virginia, shared it on Twitter along with a handwritten note supposedly from the restaurant that read: '86 — Sara Huckabee Sanders'. 86 is slang for 'kick out'

The post went viral after Brennan Gilmore, the director of nonprofit green group Clean Virginia, shared it on Twitter along with a handwritten note supposedly from the restaurant that read: '86 — Sara Huckabee Sanders'. 86 is slang for 'kick out'

Sanders' father, Mike Huckabee, the governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, also slammed the decision to evict his daughter

Sanders' father, Mike Huckabee, the governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, also slammed the decision to evict his daughter

Many supported the restaurant, including model Christine Teigen, who replied to Sanders' tweet by saying: 'Didn’t you morons get your panties in a wad defending the baker that didn’t want to make cakes for gay couples?'

Many supported the restaurant, including model Christine Teigen, who replied to Sanders' tweet by saying: 'Didn’t you morons get your panties in a wad defending the baker that didn’t want to make cakes for gay couples?'

MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell wrote: 'You do NOT treat reporters “respectfully.” You lie to them and personally insult some of them in full public view'

MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell wrote: 'You do NOT treat reporters “respectfully.” You lie to them and personally insult some of them in full public view'

The post went viral after Brennan Gilmore, the director of nonprofit green group Clean Virginia, shared it on Twitter along with a handwritten note supposedly from the restaurant that read: '86 — Sara Huckabee Sanders'.

Gilmore wrote: '@PressSecretary got kicked out of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va tonight. Apparently the owner didn't want to serve her and her party out of moral conviction.'

'86' is restaurant industry slang meaning 'throw out'. 

The Red Hen accepts walk-ins, as Sanders' name had apparently already been written down by staff and assigned to a table suggests she had pre-booked. 

Sanders' father, Mike Huckabee, the governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, also slammed the decision to evict his daughter.

'Bigotry. On the menu at The Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA. Or you can ask for the 'Hate Plate'. And appetizers are 'small plates for small minds'' he tweeted on Saturday.

But many supported the restaurant, including model Christine Teigen, who replied to Sanders' tweet by saying: 'Didn’t you morons get your panties in a wad defending the baker that didn’t want to make cakes for gay couples?' 

MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell wrote: 'You do NOT treat reporters “respectfully.” You lie to them and personally insult some of them in full public view.'  

The Red Hen's social media pages are now being bombarded with comments from people across the political spectrum, ranging from supportive comments from Trump critics to abuse from his supporters

The Red Hen's social media pages are now being bombarded with comments from people across the political spectrum, ranging from supportive comments from Trump critics to abuse from his supporters

On Saturday, the restaurant's social media pages were being bombarded with comments from purported diners, also from both sides of the political spectrum, from all over the country. 

Douglas S. from Chico, California, wrote: 'Based on their hate and prejudices I would not patronize this place. Americans have worked hard for peace and social justice but up with a place that is owned by an intolerant fascist.' 

Steven C., from Marysville, Washington, was also scathing, writing: 'I would never eat here again. The owner is a bigot. The way I've seen him treat customers is despicable. Don't waste your money here!' 

Others supported the decision, with Frederick H. of Jackson writing: 'Thank you for standing up for all of us. Will definitely visit next month when I'm in the area.'

And Will S. wrote from Las Vegas: 'Highly recommend! If you want a place that has amazing food and has the right moral compass, I would go to the Red Hen!' 

On Yelp, a reviewer of the restaurant from Los Angeles wrote: 'Don't eat here if you're a Republican, wearing a MAGA hat or a patriot.'

'12/10 would recommend. Bonus: this place is run by management who stuck up for their beliefs and who are true Americans. THANK YOU!!!!' said a reviewer from Commerce City, Colorado. 

Dailymail.com has contacted The Red Hen for comment.