Red Hen Owner Steps Down from Lexington Business Council Amid 'Intolerance' Charges

The Red Hen Restaurant in downtown Lexington, Va. (AP Photo/Daniel Lin)

See below for an update.

A member of a Lexington, Virginia, business group says residents and business owners are “appalled” by Red Hen owner Stephanie Wilkinson‘s “small-minded and intolerant” decision to boot White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders from her restaurant. Wilkinson asked Huckabee Sanders and her family to leave the restaurant after they had been seated on Friday night. She then followed the family to another restaurant across the street and organized an impromptu protest.


Wilkinson is executive director of the volunteer-based organization Main Street Lexington and her fellow members say local businesses are facing a backlash due to her actions.

“Our business, which is completely unrelated to the Red Hen, is under attack,” the local business owner wrote in an anonymous open letter obtained by Fox News. “My business is getting letters and calls from groups associated with tourism saying they refuse to bring their business to Lexington because of this woman’s actions.”

The business owner explained that he/she had to write the letter anonymously because of the “explosive” nature of the controversy which has business owners in Lexington being assailed from people on both the far left and the far right.

The individual said that he/she is calling for Wilkinson to be booted from her position as the head of Main Street Lexington because her actions have “severely damaged” their beautiful town.

“I am pushing for the immediate termination of her position as the head of the Main Street Lexington Program,” the business owner wrote. “She clearly is not an objective advocate for our town and it sickens me to be batched in a ‘one size fits all’ mindset that all businesses in town behave in such a small-minded, intolerant way.”


The Red Hen is closed on Sundays and Mondays. It is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday at 5:30.

UPDATE Tuesday 9:32 p.m.: Stephanie Wilkinson has resigned from her position as executive director of Main Street Lexington. “Considering the events of the past weekend, Stephanie felt it best, that for the continued success of Main Street Lexington, she should step aside,” said Elizabeth Branner, president of the Main Street Lexington Board of Directors.


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