OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut restaurant called the Red Hen received “threatening” messages from people confused with an identically named Virginia eatery that refused White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders service.
The Old Saybrook restaurant has received dozens of angry phone messages and negative reviews from people across the country since Saturday, reported The Day. Callers ignored owner Shelley Deproto when she explained her restaurant isn’t affiliated with the Virginia restaurant.
Good afternoon, it seems as if there has been some confusion. We are a small privately owned bistro located in Old…
The owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, asked Sanders to leave the restaurant Friday, citing the concerns of employees who are gay and know Sanders had defended Trump’s desire to bar transgender people from serving in the military.
Fake reviews caused Deproto’s restaurant’s Yelp rating to plunge from 4.5 out of 5 to a 2. Users claimed the restaurant was “non-American” and sold old meat. Yelp agreed to remove some of the posts, according to Deproto.
Users even made fake reservations on the application Seat Me. The backlog prevented real patrons from making reservations.
“This has gone beyond freedom of speech. This is causing real damage,” Deproto said.
Some supporters of the restaurant fought back on Facebook to defend Deproto from detractors.
“Sorry this is happening to you. Your food is fantastic. We had the best server the other night,” one diner wrote.
“Lexington, Virginia, according to my old geography class, is NOT Old Saybrook, CT.,” noted another supporter.
Deproto maintains she and her staff “don’t talk politics” at her restaurant.
“We like to spread love. We’re here to serve. We want people to relax and enjoy a meal,” she said.
Another Red Hen in New Jersey had a similar issue.