Is kicking someone out of a restaurant an acceptable form of political protest? Our ‘Political Insiders’ are split along partisan lines

Social media erupted last week when a top Trump White House official was asked to leave a restaurant because the staff there did not want to serve them. Our “Political Insiders” are split over whether that was an acceptable form of political protest.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the rest of her dinner party were asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia after staffers voted not to serve her. The Republicans who answered our survey said that was not an appropriate form of protest, but the Democrats who responded, as well as most of our readers, saw no problem in asking her to leave.

79% of the Republicans who answered our survey said it was inappropriate, while 79% of the Democrats and 64% of our readers disagreed.


Selected anonymous comments:

They can refuse service to whoever they want for whatever reason they want. And the great thing about the free market is everyone else can either reward or punish the restaurant as they see fit.

Sure, but it isn’t very nice or civil.

Legal, yes. Appropriate, no. When you open a restaurant and don’t post a sign disbarring someone, you are therefore inviting everyone in. If you kick them out after they take a seat, you’re just a jerk. Political opinions don’t matter at that point.

Just because you can kick someone out does not mean you should. Hypocrisy is rampant in our politics today…both sides are guilty. 

So if you refuse to bake a cake for a gay marriage based on religious reasons you get your life threatened and be called a hateful bigot and Nazi. If you refuse a Republican service and harass them, you are a hero. 

I think it’s stupid and this owner is a complete moron, but it’s her restaurant.

If you can refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding, you can be kicked out of a restaurant for being a lying, hateful, racist trump apologist.

A business owner should have the right to refuse service.

Mixed opinions on this one: should be legal (Yes), should be done (No), infuriating that progressives think this is OK and Masterpiece Cakeshop was not (Yes).

Although the Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a restaurants’ rights of refusal, American’s should not be refused or punished, based on the actions or policy of others, especially their employers.

I don’t think that kicking out Sarah Sanders is appropriate but I also don’t think refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple is appropriate.

Part of what makes commerce so valuable is that it offers a powerful incentive for people to overcome their political disagreements, rather than letting those disagreements poison all of our human actions. But commercial interactions and their attendant incentives are imperfect. Bakers. Restaurants. Consistency probably ought to matter.

It’s gimmickry! Headline-grabbing! Self-serving behavior!

It’s rude but legal. Hope this is not a sign of things to come.

Why is this form of discrimination any different and more tolerable than any other civil rights violation? Either a restaurant is going to open its door to the public, or not.

If we don’t bake cakes for gay families, then we don’t serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders cheese plates.

Isn’t it interesting that liberals love to preach tolerance, yet they are the least tolerant when someone doesn’t align with their way of thinking? This type of behavior on both sides has gone too far. We need a return to civility.

We are just getting closer to reaching a tipping point where someone gets killed or physically harmed.

I think it should be the right of the restaurant owners to kick anyone out for any reason. That said, I think doing it over political disagreements is a poor reason. I think it’s their right, but not “appropriate.”

This must have been a perverse public relations ploy for this diner to get its name some national recognition. Well, it worked. Now, what are they going to do? Public humiliation and shaming of a member of any presidential administration, no matter what their party affiliation or political philosophy may be, is not called for, even by a schmuck who owns a diner. This type of behavior (even by the misguided political hack who called for it) is embarrassing to our entire nation. The pettiness in Washington on both sides of the aisle is childish, divisive, and not fitting behavior for supposed leaders of once-respected government entities. Approval ratings are going to “heck” in a hand-basket. Rightfully so.

I understand that the restaurant owner felt some obligation to her employees. But she and her employees created a situation where one shouldn’t have existed. It was a mistake, but the media and Sanders equally shouldn’t make more out of it than that either.

This is discrimination – there are other ways to express political protest.

As a private citizen with her family, she should have been allowed to eat in a restaurant that holds itself open to the public. The staff could have written a note and delivered it to her after her dinner if they wanted to tell her how much they disagreed with her boss’ policy.

The Red Hen, Farm to Table Fine Dining. Today’s Special: Steaming Political Bigotry served with Half-Baked Liberalism and your choice of Heated Moral Superiority, Flaming Intolerance and/or Boiling Anti-Trumpism.

There is too much hatred on both sides. It accomplishes nothing.

Anyone who thinks that the baker had the right to say no to making a wedding cake celebrating a gay marriage has to agree that a restaurant owner has the right to choose to decline to service to people with whom they disagree politically. If there were a strong political figure pushing for a return to Jim Crow laws, should people not have the right to disassociate from that person? What if they were pushing for a return to slavery? Or abortion on demand? Now, whether a business owner should choose to exercise that right is a matter for etiquette and business self-interest. But it is not my business to condemn or criticize such a decision.

Business owners should be allowed to discriminate based on their personal beliefs. Free speech, free religion, free market, right?

Being an employee of this administration is not a protected class.

Sanders is being judged for very specific actions committed by her specifically. I absolutely don’t agree with declining service to someone because of their political party or something generic like that.

Trump with his behavior and Sanders with her defense of that behavior bring it on themselves. But kicking her out of a restaurant is not appropriate.

Asking a White House official to leave a restaurant doesn’t even come close to what this administration is doing to powerless people and families every single day. It’s impossible to bully someone who works in the most powerful public office in the world. Trump staffers should be reminded every day that they are loathed, and people who serve in this administration shouldn’t get jobs at Harvard or make appearances at the Emmys.

If this administration argues for a company’s right to discriminate for religious belief, they should also have no problem with the right for a company to deny service based on political grounds.

When civility leaves the room, there is nothing left but self-righteous anger.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…or what goes around comes around…or you reap what you sow…or karma’s a b#$ch. Pick one or pick all. Each one applies.

There’s a better way…. If people can show their best sides to Sarah Sanders, and show her reality, and convert her… She can be a force for good. If she realized her wrong ways, and open her eyes, then she could make a huge splash and help our cause… Don’t play fire with fire.

This was not a political protest over political disagreements. This was a business owner taking a stand against the lack of morals of SHS and the Trump administration, and the harm that their immoral policies have caused. We’ve got to stop confusing politics and morals.

We are getting out of control on our divisive nature. We shouldn’t be afraid that our viewpoint could get us kicked out of restaurants, cause issues with our neighbors, or at the extreme get us beat up or killed. We need to reach back to civility and politely “agree to disagree”. We need to stop calling each other names or try to destroy people’s careers or livelihoods because we disagree with them.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If Republicans want to carry the torch of denying service on the basis of religious beliefs, then there should absolutely be the freedom to deny service to people you just straight up don’t like.

People need to disconnect from politics just a touch. It’s really hard to justify protesting against allowing religious reasons for discrimination if people are discriminating against political beliefs. I get their point, but this isn’t the way to make it.

If it is ok to refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple, it is ok to refuse to serve a member of the government that does terrible things to children, black people and gay people. Ms. Sanders routinely lies to the public. I wouldn’t want her at my dining table!

People should have the right to refuse anyone AND be subject to the blowback from the community for it.

If you are going to support the refusal of services to someone based on beliefs and values (healthcare services, wedding cakes, social services, basic human needs) you must accept the consequences. Those who created our bully state are now upset because they don’t get to choose who gets bullied. Every basic freedom to take away from one group fundamentally threatens those same freedoms for yourself. Unfortunately, it will be too late when our country learns this lesson.

Two wrong don’t make a right. And wouldn’t it be more effective actually to help people who need it? I would have served her and then told her that the meal she just enjoyed was created by people that her administration is seeking to disenfranchise and that the proceeds are being donated to the ACLU or Southern Poverty Law Center, or wherever it will help immigrants seeking asylum, etc. Just refusing to serve her when she wasn’t breaking any laws is juvenile, not to mention reckless business practice.

It’s at least as valid an expression of beliefs as denying service to a same-sex couple.

First I believe this situation was more than a simple political disagreement or the simple fact she works for Trump. I do believe this was standing up for basic human decency. I believe Sanders has repeatedly used her position to mock, disparage and endorse lies and stereotypes that foster racism and public disdain for those who disagree with her. The consequence of this is the legitimization of this behavior in communities around the country. I don’t know that asking her to leave accomplished anything more than when a Republican business owner refused to serve Joe Biden back in 2012. I wish we could focus more on our shared values than taking sides. We seem to be losing a great deal when we value political sides more than Christian and other spiritual values for how we treat one another.

Yes because the restaurant owner has the right to refuse service! She did it politely; no violence was involved. She didn’t say anything about it until Sarah Sanders did.

It’s funny that this has become such a big deal. Sanders dad celebrated a woman who refused to serve customers who wanted to get married due to her beliefs. Republicans have defended bakers right to not bake cakes for customers based on their beliefs. While VP Biden was not actually turned away from eating at a bakery, it was seized upon by Republicans as a denial of service for a difference of opinions and Speaker Ryan asked the owner to introduce him at a rally. The list goes on, and the hypocrisy is astounding.

I think if a baker has to bake and a florist has to do an arrangement for a same-sex marriage, then the restaurant should have had to serve. I think it should go both ways. I personally think it should be owner choice and they either make money or don’t.

Same principle applies to any business, Right to refuse service. Being a liar is not a protected class of citizen.

A private business has the right to refuse service to anyone.

If I were a business owner, I would do my best work for anyone who sought my services … but I don’t see how the restaurant owner, refusing service to a person the restaurant owner found morally repugnant, is any different than refusing business service to a gay couple because the merchant considers their relationship morally repugnant. Both positions lack any sense of humility or charity.

If the restaurant serves the public, they need to serve the public. If there is a reason such as being unruly or overly demanding, then they should be kicked out, but enjoying an outing with family is not. The restaurant deserves whatever backlash it gets.

This is a hard one. If an establishment is a private enterprise and clearly declares upfront that certain kinds of clear political behavior or representation are unacceptable, then they should be able to refuse service. The declaration is much like “no shirt, no shoes, no service,” or “we retain the right to refuse service to anyone.” The statement has to be clear, open and posted in an obvious location. On the other hand, just random rejection of a customer for no stated reason or cause is not acceptable. If Sanders was sitting there as a private citizen and a paying customer without clearly knowing someone of her political stripe was unwelcome, meaning there was some clear declaration of the same, then she has full right to fair and equal service and her family too if they are with her.

I don’t think it is a good business policy, but I think that business owners have a right to refuse service to whomever they choose. If the public disagrees with that choice, then they should respond by boycotting the business. If they agree, they should continue to support that business.

The restaurant owners have the right to reserve service to anyone. If SHS violates their sincerely held beliefs–just like a baker and a gay wedding–then they have the same right to deny service. You can’t have it both ways. The bigger issue in American politics and society is that Trump has put the “bully” into the bully pulpit. While incivility has always had a place in politics, Trump has made it publicly acceptable to consider people who look differently than you as enemies, dismiss people who disagree with you and treat people who provide checks and balances on presidential power with disdain.