D.C. Restaurants To Charlottesville 2.0 Marchers: Nazi Punks Fuck Off
Tomorrow, a bunch of racist assholes will descend upon Washington D.C., for the purpose of being racist assholes and commemorating the anniversary of Charlottesville. You know, that time when they marched around in khaki pants, carrying torches and yelling "Jews Will Not Replace Us"... and then killed a young woman with a car?
Of course, those that go might have to brown-bag it, as many restaurants in the D.C. area have decided that they will not be serving any goddamned Nazis this weekend, The Washingtonian reports. Some are closing, some are hiring extra security, some are just straight up putting signs up telling them they are not welcome.
The owner of one chain of president-themed restaurants in D.C., Alan Popvsky, says that they will serve brunch this weekend but then close for dinner. At his restaurant, LINCOLN, he put up a sign telling the Nazis to go someplace else for their waffens -- excuse me, waffles.
We are black and white, brown and yellow. We are woman and man, gay and straight. We are old and young, short and tall. We are native and immigrant, resident and visitor. We are Christian and Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist. We are wise and foolish, experienced and green.
But above all, we are HUMANS, and yes, we are AMERICANS.
As such, LINCOLN is a house which divided against itself will never stand, and we are a place of patience, tolerance, acceptance, equality, choice, freedom, opportunity, and love. Come in. Join us.
Hatred has no welcome solace here.
Ellen Kassof Grey, the owner of Equinox, told The Washingtonian that she would not be serving any damned Nazis either.
"I'll proudly stay open and serve those who're respectful and kind. But being a Jewish restaurant owner and having a pro-Nazi group come to town, would I refuse service? Yes, I would," says Kassoff Gray.
Dan Simon, the owner of the very popular Founding Farmers group of restaurants, says his restaurant will stay open, but that employees afraid of using public transportation during the weekend can expense the cost of a cab, ask for a ride or stay home if they are frightened -- which many of them rightfully are. He also says they will refuse service to anyone wearing Nazi paraphernalia.
Brian Hill, Mary J. Blige's former personal chef, who now runs Chef Brian's Comfort Kitchen, says his restaurant will be a No Hate Zone. He is also kind of a bad ass:
Hill says he's been training his staff, whom he calls his "young guns," in advance of the rally. He says he's been talking with them about identifying trouble, and avoiding it.
"Don't engage—our meetings are all about 'not engage'," says Hill."Even if someone kicks our sign, whatever, let them go about their business." He adds that even though business is slower downtown on weekends, he'd never consider closing for Unite the Right.
"We were evicted from our home when I was 11. I've been shot at twice. Ask me if I'm worried. I'm not going to be afraid of a man that breathes the same air as me."
This is all very legal, as Nazis are not a protected class of any kind. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington sent out a toolkit to restaurants explaining this and what their rights are in this situation. Although D.C. considers political affiliation a protected class to a degree (ie: you can't kick someone out of your restaurant for being a Republican), belonging to a fringe group like "Literal Nazis" is not protected. You can also kick someone out if they are causing a disturbance to your staff or customers, and it's pretty fair to say that people might find sitting next to a white supremacist -- or being required to serve one -- pretty damned disturbing. Frankly, it's less about merely making shit inconvenient for them so much as it is about protecting workers and other customers, who do not need to be dealing with their bullshit.
It's also about sending a message to these fuckers that their racist nonsense will not be normalized.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse