“Unite The Right 2” Rallygoers Might Struggle To Find A Place That’ll Serve Them Lunch
Washington, D.C. is known for having an amazing food scene. But white nationalists might find that it's a struggle to find a place to eat out this weekend as a number of D.C. restaurants will refuse service to Unite The Right 2 rallygoers or close altogether, according to a new report in The Washingtonian.
Demonstrators are expected to converge in Washington on Sunday to hold what's being hailed as a "white civil rights rally" on the one-year anniversary of the deadly "Unite the Night" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. But while the city is allowing the white nationalist rally to take place, D.C. businesses aren't exactly rolling out the red carpet for "Unite the Right 2" rallygoers. According to The Washingtonian, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) distributed a toolkit informing business owners of their legal right to refuse service to white nationalists and other hate or political fringe groups. And a number of eateries have already announced plans to keep their doors closed Sunday or simply shun "Unite the Right 2" participants.
Founding Famers restaurateur Dan Simons told The Washingtonian his decision to allow his staff to refuse service to white nationalists and "Unite the Right 2" participants wasn't based on partisanship or politics, but on safety. "My team, [my] people are nervous. They're offended. They're scared to take public transportation," Simons said. "Our mentality is we're going to protect each other. This is our city. Our house. Our people."
"There are times when a guest can be rude to an employee and you swap out the server," Simons continued. "We've told our team: this isn't what that is. You don't have to be in a room with someone who's advocating for your death and enslavement."
Simons isn't the only one. Equinox owner Ellen Kassoff Gray told The Washingtonian that, as a Jewish restaurant owner, she'd refuse service to a pro-Nazi group. "I'll proudly stay open and serve those who're respectful and kind," she said.
Chef Brian Hill told a local Fox affiliate that while he has no plans to close his Chef Brian's Comfort Kitchen this weekend, he won't serve those calling for "white rights" at Sunday's rally. "I will not serve anyone who has any kind of hate in their heart or obvious hate on this weekend or ever," Fox 5 reported Hill said. "I have to stand up for myself, I have to stand up for my [employees] and any other black person who can't."
But eateries aren't the only ones with plans to refuse service to white nationalists. According to CBS News, Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb are all allowing service providers — meaning drivers and home hosts — to refuse service to "Unite the Right 2" rallygoers this weekend. "In general, regardless of event, drivers are advised to follow all local laws but have the right to refuse service to riders who are disrespectful or who make them feel unsafe," a statement from Uber read. Lyft also noted drivers were able to refuse rides to passengers who are disrespectful or who make them uncomfortable.
White nationalists are expected to gather across from the White House in D.C.'s Lafayette Square on Sunday for a "white civil rights" rally organized by Jason Kessler, the man behind last year's deadly rally in Charlottesville. Thousands of counterprotesters are also expected to converge on the city as officials and local law enforcement brace for potentially violent clashes between the two groups.