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The Red Hen co-owner pens op-ed piece year after asking Sarah Sanders to leave restaurant

Wilkinson says she has received over 4,000 pieces of mail since the incident

She says she hopes what she did will inspire others to take a stand. 

LEXINGTON, Va. – Nearly a year after asking White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her restaurant, Stephanie Wilkinson, co-owner of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, wrote an op-ed piece published by The Washington Post Tuesday.

Wilkinson never expected that asking one of President Donald Trump's top officials to leave her restaurant would turn into a firestorm.

Man arrested after throwing manure at The Red Hen restaurant 

"The incident had gone from a Facebook post to a tagged tweet to nationally trending news with the whoosh of lighter fluid to a flame," wrote Wilkinson about the morning after asking Sanders to leave.

Discussing the backlash, Wilkinson recalled how she received a text message from a Minneapolis area code threatening to burn down the restaurant.

As the summer carried on, she described how her mail carrier went from delivering the messages in a rubber-banded bundle to entire large white plastic tote bags full of letters and packages.

Owner of bed and breakfast where Sarah Huckabee Sanders stayed speaks after incident at The Red Hen

Wilkinson wrote how in the more than 4,000 pieces of mail she was called a racist, bigot and a hypocrite but some did support the actions she took on June 22.

"What’s more, for every wish that our business die a painful death, there was a dollar bill or a generous check or an order for a gift certificate," Wilkinson said in the piece.

Wilkinson said despite the initial backlash, nearly a year later business is still good.


About the Author:

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.