People Trying to Harass Restaurant That Kicked Out Sanders Get the Wrong Red Hens

The Red Hen restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Restaurants that share the name -- but not any business ties -- with the Lexington, Va., eatery that refused service to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last weekend have received death threats, been deluged with harassment and had their businesses ripped on Yelp.

The harassment even extended to a book imprint: Red Hen Press in Pasadena, Calif., had to explain on Twitter that "'Red Hen' is not a restaurant franchise, it is a name incidentally shared by many independent and unaffiliated companies" and that Red Hen Press is "a book publishing company, not a well-named panini shop."

The Red Hen restaurant in D.C. was egged and has had to post a sign in their window stating "#NOT THAT RED HEN." The staff have been inundated with emails and calls to their personal phones threatening, among other messages, to burn the restaurants down and simply "Dead Hen." Death threats began coming in on Saturday evening, when Sanders reported that she had been kicked out of the unaffiliated Lexington restaurant, and a police officer was posted outside the D.C. eatery; after the cop left for the night, the restaurant was egged.

Even a Washington restaurant affiliated with the Red Hen D.C. -- All-Purpose -- is being harassed.

The communications director at Red Hen D.C., Alysa Turner, tried to explain the lack of affiliation on Twitter, but some just wouldn't believe that the restaurants three hours apart couldn't share a non-copyrighted name.

In the District of Columbia, where politicos and lobbyists pack restaurants, it is expressly against the law to discriminate against diners based on their political affiliation. Turner explained this, as well as (repeatedly) the lack of affiliation, but some still refused to believe.

The Red Hen in Swedesboro, N.J., another non-affiliated eatery, posted on its Facebook page after receiving hundreds of calls, some threatening, "Kindly check your facts before you erroneously defame an innocent business on Facebook in an attempt to destroy their business where they welcome all, irrespective of their race, religion, views or opinions."

Shelley Deproto, owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Old Saybrook, Conn., told local media that the eatery was being inundated with phone calls and texts -- some threatening with "rage and profanity" -- as well as fake take-out orders and fake reservations.

The Red Hen Bar and Grill in Napa, Calif., had to temporarily shut down their website and social media because of the harassment.

The harassment even extended out of the country. “My phone lit up with notifications,” Diane Smith, owner of The Olde Red Hen in Collingwood, Ontario, told CTV News Channel on Monday. “‘Don’t go to this restaurant.’ ‘Their political views aren’t right.’ ‘I won’t eat in a place like that.’ I didn’t know what was happening.”

One former owner of a long-closed cafe outside Atlanta named the Red Hen has also reported harassment. “It does seem that most refuse to believe that our Hens have nothing to do with each other,” said Jason Meinhardt.

Food suppliers that work with the actual Lexington, Va., Red Hen have also reported harassment.