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Mobs on the Menu: Restaurateurs and the Culture War

Last month, the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia attracted international attention when the owner turned away White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family. The episode shocked many Americans, especially Donald Trump supporters. But in this era of aggressive ideological mobbing, such episodes have become common—even if most of the victims are not nearly as famous as the press secretary.

A hip bar in the Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles has become the latest business caught up in this phenomenon. And unlike the owner of the Red Hen, the operators of The Griffin found themselves accused of bias by critics on both sides of the political spectrum.

Last weekend, The Griffin was forced to shut down when a group of social media-mobilized activists swarmed the bar upon hearing news of a meet-up by Trump supporters in ‘MAGA’—Make America Great Again—hats. For days afterward, activists from both ideological camps followed up by filling the web with negative reviews and hateful comments. A visit to the business’s Yelp page shows a banner indicating the site’s support team is monitoring the page’s content “related to media reports.”

Photo: Yelp

Around 9 p.m. on July 14, VICE contributor Josh Androsky, who’s also a member of the L.A. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, began asking his social media followers to descend on The Griffin after receiving a tip that a group of ‘Proud Boys’ were drinking on-site.

The Proud Boys are a hard-right men’s group made up of self-described ‘Western chauvinists.’ They consider themselves to be a fraternal men’s rights organization with somewhat high-minded aims—when, in fact, it’s mostly a drinking club for young men who enjoy railing against political correctness. As part of their provocative posture, the Proud Boys have adopted MAGA hats paired with black Fred Perry polo shirts, making them easy to identify when they gather in public. They revel in their open street brawls with antifa. And they’ve been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), based mostly on crass quotes uttered by the group’s gadfly, say-anything founder, Gavin McInnes. While the SPLC has a questionable methodology and has frequently been accused of bias, the Proud Boys really do often come off as sexist and xenophobic—though not generally racist or fascistic.

Such distinctions don’t matter to Androsky, however. He live-tweeted his protest and galvanized support by referring to the Proud Boys as “Nazis.” After the bouncer (who happened to be a black man) rebuffed his demand to kick the Proud Boys out, Androsky began accusing the bar of siding with the Nazi cause. 

At some point during the evening, the altercation at The Griffin became physical. It isn’t clear whose version of events is accurate, but the facts suggest that Androsky’s group was the original instigator. The Proud Boys allege that a shoving match began after he slapped a MAGA hat off one of their members. Androsky claims his girlfriend pushed one of the Proud Boys because he was getting too close to him. A scuffle ensued. The police were called and the bar eventually kicked everyone out, including patrons who had no connection with the fracas.

Nobody was injured or arrested. And in the days before social media, this is likely where things would have ended. But Androsky wasn’t satisfied. He continued his tirade online against The Griffin, and encouraged his followers to denigrate the business on Yelp and Facebook. Fellow VICE writer Justin Caffier (who was not at the scuffle) declared in a viral tweet

Putting aside all the other unsettling elements of this episode, it shows how reflexively (and often baselessly) terms such as ‘Nazi’ and ‘white supremacy’ get thrown around. The leadership of the L.A. chapter of Proud Boys is headed by an Asian president and a queer V.P. (they asked that they not be named). Several of the Proud Boys in attendance that night included men of color. Edwin Arthur, a 44 year-old black Proud Boy who was at The Griffin tells me he was shocked to see white protesters calling him a white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer.

The Griffin, knowing which side its bread is buttered in largely progressive northeast L.A., capitulated to the mob sent by Androsky. The ownership issued a lengthy and saccharine apology. They announced a new policy of “screening” patrons, so as to deny access to anyone who holds racist, sexist, fatphobic, or transphobic views. They did not specify how the policy would be enforced. But the bar reopened with a fundraiser later in the week with proceeds going to—wait for it—the SPLC (the organization’s endowment of $432.7m ballooned following the election of Trump).

The incident at The Griffin presents a case study in how relatively small groups of activists can now leverage their power on social media to enlist otherwise apolitical businesses into their mission to shame and marginalize political actors with unpopular opinions.

In March, Kachka, a Russian eatery in Portland, Oregon, was smeared online as a hub for Nazi sympathizers after the owner refused to eject a patron accused of wearing a Nazi shirt. Deavon Snoke, one of the offended patrons, had shared her experience online with a photo of the man. “Remember his face. Memorize the symbolism on his shirt. Yell as loud as you can,” she wrote in the viral post. The business was soon bombarded with calls and hysterical accusations that it had acted in solidarity with Nazis. It didn’t matter that the business was Jewish-owned, or that one of the owner’s grandmothers escaped the Nazis in Belarus. As for the shirt, it actually just displayed a variant of the contemporary German Air Force logo (the German word for air force—Luftwaffe—is unchanged from that used during the Nazi era).

Last month, The Green Dragon Tavern in Boston was similarly accused of hosting Nazis when a group of patrons dined there following an entirely legal gun rights and free speech rally at the State House. They were followed by counter-protesters who demanded that management kick them out. When The Green Dragon declined to do so, an online campaign mobilized hundreds of people to attack the family-owned business with vicious reviews. In what now seems like a predictable development, some trolls spread the claim the group was tolerated even as its members openly wore swastikas and white supremacist symbols (the tavern released security footage showing this claim was false).

America’s barroom politics are also spilling over into Canada. In late June, a manager at the Teahouse in Vancouver, B.C. kicked out a patron wearing a MAGA hat. Darin Hodge, the employee, was fired over the incident—but he told media he didn’t regret his decision, casting it as a moral issue. And the Teahouse’s Google and Yelp reviews have since been marred with low scores from anti-Trump activists angry at the manager’s firing.

An entrepreneur should be allowed to run his or her business in an apolitical fashion. Unfortunately, there generally is no legal process that will ever allow business owners to recoup lost profits when they are the victims of slanderous online mobs. Meanwhile, we are all losing the ability to discuss our political differences without recourse to apocalyptic language. Yes, the Proud Boys are right-wing provocateurs and trolls. But they aren’t the KKK or a lost division of Nazi guards.

Calling all right-wing ideologues Nazis and white supremacists diminishes the horror of actual Nazi crimes and chattel slavery—doubly so when such libels are hurled at Jews and blacks. Online activists such as Androsky claim they are looking out for the vulnerable. But the main effect of their campaigns is to drive away customers from small businesses that provide jobs for those in the community.

No one can prevent trolls from speciously trying to stir up antagonism. But the rest of us can stop jumping on board these reactionary campaigns. If someone is tweeting at you that fascists have taken over your local bar or restaurant, do a little independent research before you retweet. The odds are good that, contrary to claim, your local tavern or diner hasn’t actually become the rallying point for a new kind of Kristallnacht.

Feature photo by Andy Ngo.

 

Andy Ngo is a graduate student in political science at Portland State University and a subeditor at Quillette. Follow him on Twitter @MrAndyNgo

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96 Comments

  1. Peter from Oz says

    The only fascists in the US are the left-wing idiots who call right-wing people fascist. Let’s be honest, although it is difficult to believe in these days of victim culture, most people in the west are right wing. It is the default setting. So trying to pretend that such people are vicious and nasty is really a great example of the idiocy of the left.

        • @ Paolo Pagliaro

          Gosh! So how did I prove him right?

          And what do you mean: “People like you”
          Who is that exactly?

          • sceptical says

            What he means by “people like you” is what he said: people like you who use the fascist label at the drop of a hat, in the hope of silencing them. Of course, he called “people like you” fascists too, but I think he knows that it’s impossible to silence you, so that was not part of his motive.

          • @ sceptical

            Read:

            “The only fascists in the US are the left-wing idiots who call right-wing people fascist.”

            The bellend missed that I was replying to the following. The fucking irony.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Typical left-wing comment- all rant and no substance.

        • Another one says

          @Peter

          Logic 101: “The only fascists in the US are the left-wing idiots who call right-wing people fascist”.

          Reading Nomad pointed out that by that sentence you are defining yourself as a fascist (as you have defined fascist). Thats why he wrote “fascist”, refering to the rethoric and personal meaning and not to an objective meaning.

          Vx, x is “fascist” in the US if and only if x is a left wing idiot who call right wing people fascist.

          (implicit, and part of the rethoric power of the sentence: Vx, x calls people fascist if and only if x is a left wing idiot.

          Note that left wing idiot/right wing people is an arbitrary distinction)

          Peter calls fascist the left wing idiots who call right wing people fascist.

          Peter is “fascist” (in the arbitrary meaning Peter gives to ‘fascist’) and a ‘left wing idiot’ (we dont know what does that mean).
          I doubt if my deduction is well expresed, tho.

          In resume, there is a mixture of terms refering at the same time to a empirical world and to whatever you, Peter, have in your mind, so we can call BS whatever you said.

          • Peter from Oz says

            How many logical fallacies can you fit on the head of a pin?

            The whole point of my utterence was to show that throwing the word ”fascist” about can be done from all political perspectives. If that proves that I’m a fascist, then it must prove that you and Reading Nomad must also be fascist because apparently imputing fascism to anyone else is proof that the imputer is also fascist, and so on ad nauseam.

            Loofah loses its end, gets scrambled and characterises Reading Nomad

        • I am not left wing. And there is no substance to your comment – the whole point. In fact, there is generally no substance to what you post. So you are just projecting.

          • Peter from Oz says

            Did I say you were left wing? I said your comment was typical left wing comment. The two are completely different things

          • @ Peter from Oz

            It doesn’t work Pete. You clearly implied I was left wing. Anyone who has read your comments knows it too. It is all that you do actually post.

    • Andrew says

      Given left and right merely describes the ends of the current political spectrum, most people are in the centre and only extremists are genuinely left or right.

      • Actually in the US that has changed dramatically. Democrats and Republicans were for decades clustered on either side of a bell curve when it came to political views — with the vast majority within the first standard deviation or so. Today we have a curve with two peaks and people cluster either around the left peak or the right peak — the middle/centrist area is being hollowed out.

        It won’t end well.

  2. Hamr says

    The radical ( nonsensical) left have become everything that they claim to be fighting against, and they really couldn’t care less about the collateral damage they cause to innocent peripheral entities. They actually seem to revel in the harm that they inflict.
    The thought of these abhorrent people gaining any measure of meaningful institutional power should strike fear into the heart of any rational and right thinking individual.

  3. The herd mentality and mindless mob behavior comes natural to these types. Social media has empowered cowards who will only ever do anything in the anonymity and security of a large group.

    Trump could literally give our nuclear codes to Putin and still get re-elected because the left is incapable of controlling its fascistic impulses.

    • “Trump could literally give our nuclear codes to Putin and still get re-elected because the left is incapable of controlling its fascistic impulses.”

      Trump getting elected hasn’t got much to do with the Left but mostly the Right.

      • Bill says

        Actually, I think you’d find that hypothesis easily challenged. For example: what part of the Left was angered by the supposedly “Democratic” party Left making their “Democratic” primary a facade? How many were angry that they were lied to for how many years about it being about “Democracy” and voter suppression only to find out it was Orwellian speech? How many of those didn’t vote Clinton but either Stein, Trump, or “present?”

        Even the NYU play swapping Clinton and Trump genders demonstrated how bad HRC was — the candidate nominated by the primary facade, pre-selected by the Elites but “sold” to the populace as having been “their nominee?”

        An undeniable truth is that the outrage about whomever hacked the DNC/Podesta accounts was (insider, Russian, Chinese, NK, whomever) — the outrage is that they aired the truth about the DNC’s primary process. They aired the truth about how the MSM gave HRC’s camp the questions ahead of townhalls with Sanders. They rigged the system and got caught — the outrage!

        • Tedz says

          Right. So an undemocratic party candidate selection is the real outrage. Not the 12 Russian intelligence officers charged by Mueller.Glad we sorted that out.

          • Nick Enders says

            @Tedz
            Absolutely. Classic case of “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Who cares where the information came from. The fact is the DNC are the people actually guilty of violating the democratic process. To sit here and pretend that Trump was elected because the election was hacked is just silly. Unless by “hacked” you mean “learning the truth”.

          • Chester Draws says

            Charged. Not convicted.

            Mueller is fishing. All this time and he’s still tilting with shadowy allegations and hope.

            That the Russians spy on the US is not news. The US spies on Russia. What’s lacking is anything that ties the Russians to Trump.

      • BH428 says

        Well, yes, but transgender bathrooms put Trump over the top! 🙂

      • Il. Meyer says

        @Reading Nomad It’s got EVERYTHING to do with the left and EVERYTHING to do with the right. Isn’t that obvious yet?

        • @ Il. Meyer

          Yes. But that is always the case and it wasn’t the objection. Try reading the original comment I objected to:

          ““Trump could literally give our nuclear codes to Putin and still get re-elected because the left is incapable of controlling its fascistic impulses.””

        • Nah. It has far, far more to do with the right. And it is far, far more damaging to the right.

          That is if the Left had a leader who knew how to sit back and capitalize on it all.

          • Johan Swede says

            In Europe the left is dead. Maybe forever. They have gone way to far. Not caring about the normal everyday life of their tax-paying citizens. LBTQ, Pride, feminism gone rouge, immigrants en masse, excusing islamism, antisemitism…People have had enough of the left wing folly.
            New left wing people are born every day…They are a minority by default. They just don’t know when to stop. New crazy ideas are produced constantly. The vast majority will never embrace them. Main stream media is dying. People can no longer be controlled. Hence, the left is dying.
            Sweden, were I live, has been the most politically correct country in the world. Election in 2 months. Everything will change.
            The left can’t help themselves from coming up with new crazy ideas…Thats why Brexit and Trump happened. People have had enough.

          • “In Europe the left is dead.”

            Eh? In Europe Left is pretty dominant. I doubt it ever will. Loosely the balance works. The Left and the Right. Hopefully the balance stays. It largely how democracy has worked.

            “Not caring about the normal everyday life of their tax-paying citizens.”

            In what way? Yes – left does care about minorities a lot. But in what way exactly are the ” normal everyday life of their tax-paying citizens”? In fact who exactly are these people?

            “The left can’t help themselves from coming up with new crazy ideas”

            For example?

            “Thats why Brexit and Trump happened. People have had enough.”

            Not really. Brexit happened because England coming off the back of a huge Empire has always valued its Independence and sovereignty and identity. And were not willing to collude this. And yes even the Lefties who are still going to vote left. In fact, Corbyn himself is pretty anti-European Union.

            Trump – partially Left but more because the Right did not like the other choices they had. He was the Republican candidate. They chose him over some pretty strong Republican candidates.

    • Jack B Nimble says

      @Chester Draws July 23

      from Politico.com:
      Why I’m No Longer a Russiagate Skeptic By BLAKE HOUNSHELL

      When I wrote, back in February, that I was skeptical that President Donald Trump would ever be proved to have secretly colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election in his favor, I mistyped.

      What I meant to write was that I wasn’t skeptical. Last week’s events have nullified my previous skepticism……….

      Link: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/20/confession-of-a-no-longer-russiagate-skeptic-219022

  4. Gathering in mobs in public to commit violence against people is not fighting fascism. It is fascism!

    • Atahualpa Quiroga says

      What exactly is the meaning of “mob” here? People have started using the term to describe any sizable group of people who share the same indignation toward certain perspectives and are willing to exercise their free speech prerogative together. The term mob is too easily brandied about by people who feel overwhelmed by the unpopularity of their position. If you’ve cried out for free speech and suddenly panic upon finding that the majority don’t share your views, don’t retreat into whining about “mobs.” Man up and learn to be truly subversive. But no, that would never happen, because there’s not a subversive bone in you. You’re used to being shielded by power.

      • Northern Observer says

        It’s the verbal abuse, physical intimidation and violence – stupid.

      • AussieAdam says

        Mob; noun; a large crowd of people, especially one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence. I.e. a mob of protesters…. seems an apt description to me. In my opinion, I have no issue with protests, but this type of protesting, going after people in bars or restaurants or targeting the business for having patrons you don’t agree with is utterly reprehensible and you should all be very ashamed of yourselves.

      • How it is that you don’t understand that falsely labeling people “fascists” and then hunting them down wherever they go to eat out or get a beer and then demanding they be thrown out, isn’t free speech but is harassment, is amazing. Destroying peoples business reviews (who’ve done nothing wrong) by social media mobbing – and it absolutely is mobbing – is just unethical and shouldn’t be surprising to ethical people when it is called out.

        Secondly, this is phenomenon is the farthest thing from a “majority”, this is an absolute minority of self-righteous assholes who think they are the moral arbiters and thought police for the rest of us, going around and bullying innocent people who won’t bow to their demands to enforce their own psychodramas of fighting “fascists” by forcibly removing those who – in reality- they simply disagree with. Its an easy call who is in the wrong here, its just baffling to see otherwise smart people not see it.

      • Dan says

        ” exercise their free speech prerogative together.”

        I am pretty sure the mobs Harland is talking about are antifa. The antifa MO is actual violence against people they label as fascists, mostly grandmothers and grandfathers sporting fanny packs and American flags.

        It a good thing most leftists don’t put in the hard work of lifting, otherwise they might do more damage.

        • evd says

          @ Dan- Provide one spec of evidence that Antifa attacks mostly grandmothers and grandfathers sporting fanny packs and American flags”. I don’t love the tactics of the blac block Antifa members (which is a tiny portion of a tiny group. Most Antifa members don’t use violence, they simply out fascists), but you are lying about Antifa to create a bogeyman. The handful of violent incidents Antifa have been involved in are clashes with far-right extremist groups like the Proud Boys.

      • Unladen Swallow says

        What exactly is the meaning of “mob” here? How about this, a bunch of self righteous fools who scream and yell that there are people in the world who don’t agree with them and scream moronic insults at them and try to suppress any deviant thought? So they are not in the majority at all and in fact are a besieged minority viewpoint but are nevertheless shielded by all the powerful people? Contradict much?

        Maybe it is the mob of angry protestors that you belong to that are shielded by the powers that be, maybe you and your ilk are nothing but cannon fodder for an elite that wants to suppress speech but doesn’t want to get their hands dirty. Did ever think of that you sanctimonious troll? Probably not, because you are a pawn.

      • The majority doesn’t share there views? Certainly more then believe in hardcore progressiveism. It must be by magic the GOP controls most of the government in this country right now. Of course you can find 20-30 people on a whim to disagree with it it is a divided country. But to act like the beliefs of these mobs are the prevailing thought in this country thats ludicrous.

  5. Gordon Smith says

    Why is this any different from refusing to make an image on a cake for someone.

    • Lanette says

      As different as trying to compare a slice of pizza to an apple. In so many ways, that I probably won’t remember them all in this response.

      On the one hand you have OWNERS, if you’ve done your research, then you’d see how extensively, imaginatively, and creatively that cake shop owner decorated his specialty cakes. He was respectful and had a list of nearby bakeries where the owners were happy to make specialty cakes for ALL of the events he did not feel comfortable dedicating his time to create, which includes Halloween and other holidays and events, not just gay weddings. I also support the owner of the Red Hen in her decision to request Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave; however, in that instance, I find it very disturbing and pathetic that the owner then followed them down the sidewalk yelling and screaming at them. In both cases, it was the OWNER making the decision and deciding who they would serve and who they would not, which I believe is entirely within their rights.

      On the other hand you have THE MOB! The PUBLIC! The RIOTERS! You obviously don’t own your own business (and never will), if you can’t see the big picture difference in these two totally different situations. So, you believe that anyone and everyone should be able to tell a business owner who they are ALLOWED to serve and who they are NOT allowed to serve? I guess you also feel entitled to tell business owners what they should make and when? So, they aren’t business owners, but complete slaves? Next, you’ll be telling them how much they can charge and when they have to open? What days they’re allowed to close or are they NEVER allowed to close? Looks like you want to remove “free agency” from the equation, so that means I get to tell you exactly what you’re allowed to do, when, what to think, and when you’re allowed to think, if at all? Seems to me that you need to turn your brain ON to begin with if you can’t see the difference.

      I believe in “free agency” and freedom; however, my “free agency” ends where yours begins. That’s the difference too. I have the freedom to walk into a store and the owner then has the right to request me to leave; however, if I walk into a store and another person walks in yelling that the owner HAS to MAKE me leave right now because I happened to have on a tee-shirt with Luftwaffe insignia on it because I served in the German Air Force, then what does that show? Besides total ignorance that Luftwaffe means Air Force and not Nazi Air Force? It’s dictating to the OWNER, who may know that Luftwaffe has nothing to do with Nazis and is just trying to run his business to the best of his ability and now finds himself in the middle of a huge controversy thanks to (1) social media; (2) ignorant social justice warriors; and (3) blind stupidity, which is causing him to lose money, if not his business. That’s taking away everyone’s free agency, except for those who can’t be civil, have no concept of tolerance, knowledge, or the concept of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Or, how about “treating others as you would like to be treated.” That’s the difference too.

      • Gordon Smith says

        Lanette – I think you misunderstood me. I was saying why is the treatment of Huckabee Sanders any different from the cake makers not comparing it to the mob. I agree with everything you have said but was perhaps a little to ironic/subtle.
        By the way I owned a retail business for 27 years.

      • Jack B Nimble says

        @Lanette

        “……..I also support the owner of the Red Hen in her decision to request Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave; however, in that instance, I find it very disturbing and pathetic that the owner then followed them down the sidewalk yelling and screaming at them…..”

        This smear against the Red Hen owner is complete BS!!:

        ‘snopes.com — Did a Business Owner Picket Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Family After They Left Her Restaurant?

        CLAIM

        Stephanie Wilkinson, owner of the Red Hen restaurant, followed the family of Sarah Huckabee Sanders and organized a picket against them at another restaurant.

        RATING – Mostly False

        WHAT’S TRUE

        After Stephanie Wilkinson asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her restaurant, a second encounter between Wilkinson and the Sanders family took place at another restaurant when a member of the public briefly held up a sign outside the other restaurant.

        WHAT’S FALSE

        Wilkinson did not organize a picket or protest against Sanders’s family, nor did she personally picket or protest them. Apart from one person’s briefly holding up a sign, no protest or picket against the family of Sarah Huckabee Sanders took place.….’

        Source: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/huckabee-sanders-red-hen-protest/

        I encourage readers to check out the entire Snopes.com article. The author at Snopes actually contacted persons and restaurants in the area to see if anyone remembered any person[s] following or yelling at S. H. Sanders on the day in question, and no one did. The story originated on Fox News by the FATHER of S. H. Sanders. Neither Mr. Huckabee nor Fox are impartial sources.

          • Jack B Nimble says

            @Susan

            Snopes.com sounds way more trustworthy than Mike Huckabee!!

            Huck said ON TWO DIFFERENT occasions on TV that some but not all members of the Sanders party went to a different restaurant across from Red Hen Lex to eat after the incident in question, but there is no restaurant located across the street from Red Hen Lex in any direction:

            https://www.google.com/maps/place/The+Red+Hen+Lex/@37.7845406,-79.4415178,81m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x884ccbbbee32b8d5:0xf0a0951f78fc6ffd!8m2!3d37.7844746!4d-79.4413709

            Here is more from Snopes, with Huck’s fabrications in bold:

            ‘An individual with firsthand knowledge of the events following the Sanders family’s departure from the Red Hen told us that the group subsequently went to a nearby restaurant called the Southern Inn. At some point in the evening members of the group encountered Wilkinson outside on the street, but it’s not clear whether Wilkinson followed them there or simply happened to be passing by. (We sent Wilkinson a series of questions relating to the events of that evening but did not receive a response.)

            The Southern Inn is not across the street from the Red Hen, although it is a few hundred feet away on Main Street (Lexington’s primary thoroughfare), meaning that Wilkinson could have incidentally bumped into the Sanders family on her way to somewhere else.

            The person with whom we spoke insisted that no protest and no commotion took place, and that Wilkinson did not orchestrate any picket against the Sanders family. According to that person, for a brief moment a member of the public held up a sign outside the Southern Inn which bore the word “Shame,” but that sign appeared to have been hastily put together on the spot. This incident may have led to the mistaken impression that the family had been subjected to an organized picket outside the Southern Inn, even though this second encounter between Wilkinson and the family apparently passed off without any rancor or commotion.

            So Mike Huckabee’s claims were not made up from thin air, but the former governor specifically and pointedly accused Wilkinson herself of having organized and orchestrated a loud picket and protest against his daughter’s family, claiming that Wilkinson led a group of protesters in “yelling and screaming” at them. These specific allegations, made by a prominent public figure with a large national audience against a person who had already been subjected to online death threats and harassment, are apparently inaccurate.’

        • PaulRevere says

          LOL snopes.
          And what did your pink unicorn say about it?

          • Jack B Nimble says

            @Dan @PaulRevere

            Your mocking of the death threats directed at the “Red Hen” is very revealing. Even the Federalist.Com is appalled at this behavior, and that’s saying something:

            Instead Of Throwing Poop At The Red Hen, Return Its Incivility With Love, by Joy Pullmann [ http://thefederalist.com/2018/06/27/instead-throwing-manure-death-threats-red-hen-overcome-incivility-love/ ]

            Things are getting even crazier down in Lexington, Virginia, where the co-owner of a restaurant called the Red Hen refused to serve White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders last weekend for the crime of working for a president of an opposing political party. Local press reports that a man was arrested Tuesday for throwing manure at the restaurant during a protest. Other, completely separate businesses with the same name are getting nasty phone calls and Internet reviews………

            A woman in another Virginia town with the same name as Wilkinson has received hate mail and death threats. She says she has gotten more than 400 phone calls since last weekend, after apparently somebody posted her cell number online in a doxxing attempt: “One of them told me to put the barrel of a shotgun down my throat.”

            “I’ve never been to Lexington. I don’t even know about the Red Hen,” the other Wilkinson told local news station NBC 12. “Usually I’ll just swipe left and decline them, but every once in a while I’ll answer one. They call me an F’ing liar, a liberal liar or a communist pig.”…’

            Conservative nitwits can’t even send a simple death threat without screwing it up somehow.

      • Bill says

        Actually, they believe anyone and everyone EXCEPT the owner should be allowed to decide who the business may serve.

    • Dan says

      Gordon Smith — Forcing people to bake cakes with messages they disagree with is compelled speech and therefore a violation of a person’s free speech rights.

      If Sarah Sanders visits a restaurant, the restaurant owner isn’t being compelled to express a message that they disagree with. If Sarah Sanders demanded that the restaurant owner bake a cake with a message on it that says, “Make America Great Again” that would be compelled speech and therefore unconstitutional.

      Asking for a generic cake with no message would not be unconstitutional.

      • @ Dan

        Equally in a liberal society, how can you force people to associate with people who they do not want to associate with each other? Here wasn’t the case of rejecting a whole group of people on natural characteristics or even on ideological stance. I bet that restaurant owner has served many conservatives without a problem. Sanders was specifically targeted.

        I, like you and many others disagree with the owner’s actions. However, it is difficult to see how she can be or should be compelled to serve Sanders.

    • Did the cake shop owner scream at the top his lungs Im not making this cake for you faggot get out of my face before I punch it?

    • ga gamba says

      Why is this any different from refusing to make an image on a cake for someone.

      Fundamentally the difference is that the customers were not compelling the owners to communicate a message they didn’t support. Ms Huckabee-Sanders didn’t require the restaurant owners to write MAGA atop her pancakes in whipped cream. The Proud Boys didn’t require the pub owners to proclaim their opposition to Antifa. And the bakery owners sold undecorated cakes or other baked goods without asking the customers to proclaim an alignment of belief or ideology to the owners’.

      Unintentionally you raise a good point, though. I support business owners right to refuse service to anyone for whatever reason – just so we’re clear, I don’t support this for the public realm such as gov’t services and facilities because these are funded by the taxpayer. The owners accept the outcomes, whether good and bad, for that choice. However, the law of the land in the US does not permit business owners this right with regard to many “protected groups”. In some states and cities the protected groups include political affiliation. If the owner of a gay-oriented nightclub doesn’t want gaggles of women out on hen nights hassling his/her customers and cluttering the dance floor, and also doesn’t want the expense of building a women’s lavatory to accommodate these unwanted customers, then s/he ought to be able to post a sign on the door that reads: No women. The Nation of Islam petrol station should have the right to exclude whites and Jews, if it wishes.

  6. Matthew says

    “If someone is tweeting at you that fascists have taken over your local bar or restaurant, do a little independent research before you retweet.”

    I would actually say just don’t retweet at all. Twitter mobs are reprehensible. The problem is one of scale, really. It is one thing when you have one-on-one criticism. But when a thousand, or a million people are outraged and drive by to harass you (virtually or not), the response is utterly disproportionate to whatever “crime” was committed. (And usually there isn’t a crime at all.)

    Don’t want to support a business because of their politics? Well, that’s the way the system works. Vote with your wallet. But joining a mob or inciting a mob is not how the system works. At least, not how it should work.

  7. Jack B Nimble says

    “………An entrepreneur should be allowed to run his or her business in an apolitical fashion. Unfortunately, there generally is no legal process that will ever allow business owners to recoup lost profits when they are the victims of slanderous online mobs…”

    OK, but also there is generally no legal process to allow persons to recover damages when their business dries up because a highway bypass was built, or because the neighborhood is deteriorating, or because a big-box store opened nearby, etc. Small business owners typically understand that consumers have choices about where to shop or buy and that consumers can be fickle or unreasonable; that is just an unavoidable business risk.

    More generally, business owners DO have the right to ask customers to leave regardless of the reason, unless the customer is a member of a protected class under US Civil Rights Acts AND there is reason to believe that the customer is being targeted because of their national or ethnic origin, sex, etc. The “Red Hen” was acting within the law when the S. H. Sanders party was asked to leave. Sanders, on the other hand, may have broken ethics laws when she used her government position to publicize the incident:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/sarah-huckabee-sanders-red-hen-kicked-restaurant-white-house-ethics-chief-violates-walter-shaub-a8414191.html

    • Ah, so now it’s Sanders’ fault: she can be asked to leave “without reason” and she can’t complain publicly. Political affiliation is the new allowed discrimination: “Hey you, get out of here. I don’t like your leftist scarf and shirt”. So nice!

      • Bill says

        Next time she knows to say she was asked to leave because of her CIS-gender.

      • Jack B Nimble says

        @Paolo Pagliaro

        Sanders has a free-speech right to comment on the “Red Hen;” she is prohibited from using her government-funded position as a megaphone while doing so:

        From the dailywire.com
        ‘Former Obama Ethics Head: Sarah Sanders Blasting Red Hen Could Be Illegal, ByPaul Bois

        Former Obama admin ethics office head Walter Shaub has accused Sarah Huckabee Sanders of breaking the law by using her White House Twitter account to blast a restaurant that refused her service for political purposes………

        Apparently, this action by Sanders was an illegal one due to it being on her government Twitter account. Walter Shaub, former head of the White House ethics office, called it a “clear violation” of federal ethics law. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said the ethics office should investigate Sanders while speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

        Sarah, I know you don’t care even a tiny little bit about the ethics rules, but using your official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635.702(a). It’s the same as if an ATF agent pulled out his badge when a restaurant tried to throw him/her out. https://t.co/Fj6OfBAdew — Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 23, 2018

        Federal law 5 CFR 2635.702 “prohibits government employees from using their position for personal gain or for endorsing a product or business,” according to HuffPo. It also details that the “basic obligation of public service” requires that employees “shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.”

        Sanders used her official govt account to condemn a private business for personal reasons. Seeks to coerce business by using her office to get public to pressure it. Violates endorsements ban too, which has an obvious corollary for discouraging patronage. Misuse reg covers both. — Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 23, 2018

        Opening sentences of 5 CFR 2635.702 cover both; 702(a) gives example of coercion; 702(c) gives example of endorsement. Also 2635.101(b)(8) bars preferential treatment, with obvious corollary for singling out. She can lob attacks on her own time but not using her official position…..Her goal was transparently to get her fans to boycott or harass the restaurant, and that is exactly what has happened*. If you were teaching ethics training, you’d never offer this as an example of what is acceptable. It’s like when Trump attacked Nordstrom. — Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 24, 2018

        *Boldface added. The fact that many former and current Trump admin officials are embroiled in ethics scandals [http://thehill.com/regulation/administration/376519-ethics-issues-pile-up-for-trump-cabinet-officials ] is no reason to ignore Sanders’ unethical behavior.

  8. Northern Observer says

    Antifa are the Walking Dead. Act accordingly

  9. Shenme Shihou says

    “The Proud Boys are a hard-right men’s group… ”

    Has the overton window moved so far left that a group of what is basically Punk Rock Libertarian types is considered “hardright?” Last year, maybe, I heard someone criticize Dave Ruben for for hosting “far right” Lauren Southern. Southern, far right?

    Neither of these groups are even the least bit critical towards democracy. So what? Being anti-abortion is far right now? Anti-open borders?

    • @ Shenme Shihou

      Er… yes. Lauren Southern is far right. She is at least to some extent a white nationalist/racist.

      “Punk Rock ”

      So what exactly is punk rock?

      • Ah, ok. Far right is whatever you don’t like, I guess.
        A little suggestion: when you post something, a little content would be appreciated. Let’s say, something like: “Being far-right, as opposed to center right, means …” Or: “She’s racist because she did/said …”.

        Post like: “Er.. yes. She is so and also X, Y, Z” are not very enlightening. But ok: you just won some points in the tribal virtue-signaling game.

      • Shenme Shihou says

        “Er… yes. Lauren Southern is far right. She is at least to some extent a white nationalist/racist. ”

        Even if that is true (not sure that it is), thats doesnt make her “far right.”

        “So what exactly is punk rock?”

        A type of music that started in the early 80’s.

        • “Even if that is true (not sure that it is), thats doesnt make her “far right.””

          Well it does and she is far right. Far right is marked out by having extreme nationalists, reactionary, nativists, and somewhat authoritarian tendencies. She has certainly shown support for such groups in the past.

          “A type of music that started in the early 80’s.”

          Ah! So “Proud Boys” whatever else they are, aren’t “punk rock”.

          • ADM64 says

            Far right, as you’ve described it, is at best accurate only within the context of a political spectrum based on historic European political norms. Far left, in the same context, could describe anyone from socialists to libertarians, neither of whom have anything fundamentally in common.

            Within the American context, the founding principles, even if not perfectly or fully applied, were those of individualism, natural rights, private property and reason – the Enlightenment philosophy properly described as liberalism. American conservatives want to conserve that heritage. Progressives, socialists, communists, fascists, racists and the like do not. All are collectivist philosophies, all are authoritarian – some are totalitarian. Within our political context, applying the right = the existing system, left = changing the existing system paradigm, ALL the enemies of liberty, rights, reason, and capitalism are on the left.

            Attempting to distinguish far right and far left by claiming the nativists and the fascists and the racists and the socialists and the progressives are different is simply a dishonest attempt to obscure the real issue, and the really guilty parties. There are white supremacists and the like in our country; they are a tiny minority with no influence and have been fully rejected by the conservatives, libertarians, classical liberals and objectivists – collectively the actual right. In contrast, progressives and socialists have large numbers, influence in all major institutions, and in one political party in particular. And they’re the one pushing mob tactics and rejecting reason.

          • @ ADM64

            “Attempting to distinguish far right and far left by claiming the nativists and the fascists and the racists and the socialists and the progressives are different is simply a dishonest attempt to obscure the real issue, ”

            Eh? Fascists and Progressives are two very different groups of people with two very different set of ideals. It is not clear what you are on about.

            – –

            “There are white supremacists and the like in our country; they are a tiny minority with no influence and have been fully rejected by the conservatives”

            They mostly are. Correct. And that is NOT the point. It is how such people themselves usually identify. On the old spectrum – their political beliefs are mostly on the Right. Hence they are identified with the Right. But are clearly separate. I think most people with some brains can manage to identify the difference.

            There is no dishonesty in this.

            The dishonesty is here:

            “Progressives, socialists, communists, fascists, racists and the like do not.”

            Trying to group these together.

            – –

            “And they’re the one pushing mob tactics and rejecting reason.”

            This is bias. Yes…everyone follows the path they think is correct one. However, overly demonizing your opponent is plain silly. And being dogmatic in this way will lead to others rejecting your view wholesale.

            I can easily look up and find many current and historic example where this is outright not true… and you know this too. Yet you made this point.

            – –

            “American conservatives want to conserve that heritage.”

            Yes. Conservatism by its very definition seeks to conserves whereas progressives seek to progress things.

            – –

            ” All are collectivist philosophies, all are authoritarian – some are totalitarian. Within our political context, applying the right = the existing system, left = changing the existing system paradigm, ALL the enemies of liberty, rights, reason, and capitalism are on the left. ”

            Complete and utter Bullshit. So why didn’t the conservatives end slavery or racism? And who advanced science and liberty more? Conservatives or Liberals? And how come Liberals are now under Conservatives? Since when? If “conservatism” didn’t evolve then there would be no democracy in the first place. Europe would still be under Imperialism.

            You haven’t got a clue as to what you are on about.

          • “Well it does and she is far right. Far right is marked out by having extreme nationalists, reactionary, nativists, and somewhat authoritarian tendencies. She has certainly shown support for such groups in the past.”

            She doesnt have “extreme nationalists, reactionary, nativists, and somewhat authoritarian tendencies.” She is not even reactionary in the slightest.

            When she comes out as anti-democratic and anti-individual we can call her far right. Until then she is center right at best.

            “Ah! So “Proud Boys” whatever else they are, aren’t “punk rock”. ”

            Did you miss the “Libertarian” part after I said “Punk Rock?”

          • “When she comes out as anti-democratic and anti-individual we can call her far right. Until then she is center right at best.”

            Legitimizing race hatred – gosh! That probably is very “democratic” and just normal isn’t it?

            “She doesnt have “extreme nationalists, reactionary, nativists, and somewhat authoritarian tendencies.””

            She does – as to what I have read or heard of her.

            – –

            Did you miss the “Libertarian” part after I said “Punk Rock?”

            Nope. As that irrelevant. And this wrong.

        • evd says

          @ Shenme Shihou You lose ALL credibility when you say that punk started in the early 80s as it started in the late 70s. I mean, The Ramones? The Sex Pistols? You simply don’t know what you’re talking about. Your ignorance of music is only one upped by your ignorance of politics as Southern’s white nationalist rhetoric is very, very far right. If Southern is NOT far right than the argument that “all conservatives are racist” is correct as someone with the racist ideology of Southern is not on the fringes of the right.

          • Evd, you are right, punk did start in the late 70’s. I was thinking about more when it became popular.

            So if Southern is “very,very far right” then what about the Mongol Empire? The Song Dynasty? Confucianism? Legalism? Are these very, very,very far right?

            Take off your modern goggles and look at history. Southern isnt even critical of democracy.

    • Andrew says

      Anti abortion is definitely associated with far right, Southern is a racist right wing idiot.

    • Robin says

      The coverage of the Proud Boys in the article was atrocious by the standards of the article. The writer decried Androsky for calling them nazis right after asserting that they are “hard right” and a “men’s rights organisation” without any references to corroborate those claims.

      Having followed them since Berzerkley I haven’t seen McInnes say or do anything that would fit either label. Despite his punk rock aesthetic he’s a tradcon who doesn’t like people who are against Western values. MRAs are seldom traditionalists when it comes to gender roles and the hard right definitely don’t support freedom of speech.

  10. That lead photo — the one at the top of the article — is damn near perfect. Every face in the photo, every gesture and expression, is almost too good to be true. It’s almost as though it was staged by The Onion.

    • Shenme Shihou says

      Two old hippies who cant fight? Check
      Balding middle aged (probably literal) cuck? Check
      Weird tranny? Check
      Unattractive girl who probably plays roller derby? Check
      Chubby guys in maskes? check

      Its almost perfect.

      • dirk says

        Unattractive girl Shenme? I don’t agree, I think, once she is out of that group (and puts up another expression), you can have a nice cup of tea, or something else with her. What I have to make of that figure with headscarf and earrings, I don’t know. What is it? A trans, queer or cis? The bra probably only serves to hide it has no boops.

        • dirk says

          Which ones Johan, the girl in black pants? Or the tranny? I go for the girl, but, I know from experience, as soon as you really sit with one, it can always go quite differently as you think. For the same money (our expression) you find yourself chatting in all harmony on common interests (e.g., gardening) with the ones that, at first sight, you thought the unsympathetic ones.

  11. The Proud Boys are right-wing provocateurs? I don’t know what they think, very little is said here.
    What about the opposite front? As far as I know, it was the seconds who started the fight and my sympathy doesn’t go with bullies.

    • Shenme Shihou says

      Do you actually not know? Its basically a frat started by Gavin McGinnes, who is a greying old punk rock guy. He is right wing in the sense that your average Libertarian college student is right wing. He may be a little more anti-open borders and Trump happy, but the motif is still the same.

      The Proud Boys themselves are basically beer-drinking internet shitlords. Some of them probably lift weights semi often and they seem to be worth more in a street fight than most of Antifa.

      • @ Shenme Shihou

        And often quite a bit pro-white. Never does it openly… but a hint here and a hint there.

    • Shenme Shihou says

      Oh, Gavin also started Vice media, back when it was about how to pick of prostitues in southeast asia and similar topics.

  12. DBruce says

    Let us go then, you and I
    to the cafe to throw buns at eachother
    nazi buns
    nazi buns
    nazi buns
    fuck off

  13. Anonymoose says

    The funny thing is that there were actual fascists dining at an establishment they’d do a lot worse than yell at anyone who tried to harass them out of it.

    Fascists loved street violence, it was part of their path to power. By hurling the term as a slur at people who aren’t fascists that are just trying to have fun at a bar, you’re just going to create them. The nazis and fascists were reactionary movements to exactly the sort of out of decadent and out control leftist behavior and violence we’re now seeing in America.

    Eventually one of these leftist mobs will run into a group of right wingers that are going to do more than just yell at them. Antifa will get cocky, and they’ll try to move up from center right groups like the proud boys to say… a bikers for trump or oathkeepers group (I’d pay cash to see them “fight” those atomwaffen futurist-sociopaths). I won’t shed any tears when that happens.

  14. andrea2018 says

    in the UK it was a restaurateur who was targeted for being ‘right wing/racist’ after he had an exchange of words with an al jazeera journalist at the Free Tommy Robinson demo. People left negative reviews of his establishment online, booked tables and didn’t turn up and badmouthed him to try and lose him business.

    https://twitter.com/OHATyoutube/status/1018209593925742593

  15. Fess says

    A thoughtful article about a problem that starts with name-calling on social media is followed by a lot of name-calling in these comments. Terms like far-right, fascist, racist and Nazi are thrown around with such abandon that I’m sure none of the targets fits the descriptions. Please just stop with the labels. Not helpful.

  16. The main problem here is the self righteous/delusional attitude of these so called protesters and some of the people defending them here. No your beliefs are not in the majority. This is a divided country. To act like your thought processes are the majority in this country and so these people deserve to be harassed for supporting obviouly evil policies is ludicrous. The last time I checked the GOP controlled most levers of government in this country right now. If everyone agrees with you but a minority of evil people that deserve to be harrassed in public wheres the beef? Usually I have to say this to children but Ill say it to delusional adults too just because you say something doesn’t make it true.

  17. I wonder if it can be made a crime to incite a spontaneous harassment of one or more persons at a specific venue over social media. Then the people who make the original tweets calling for the formation of a mob can be charged criminally and a legitimate fear of doing so can become the norm. But maybe there is a detail I’m missing. But it certainly seems like a crime similar to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater, which is already illegal.

    • Yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is not illegal. You may be held accountable for the consequences of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, but the act of yelling “fire” is not a crime.

      • Well that just proves my point, that if harm comes to an innocent restaurant, for example, just because some people ate there, the person who wrote the tweet calling out the mob should probably be held liable.

  18. These are dangerous times and the article points to the tip of the iceberg. The problem of course is that people are really pretty easily manipulated and not all that educated and it only takes a small minority of wacko zealots to produce a lot of social chaos. Of course, the media produces the daily dose of moral and righteous “outrage” that so many “good” people consume with relish–what do they relish? They enjoy the stirring of their emotions, in this case mostly negative emotions of hatred, anger, and OUTRAGE. As the negative emotions get stirred the capacity for thinking logically diminishes– it would seem. This might explain why you can’t have a logical argument with these people– it is not about logic it is about emotion. It is interesting how the most well meaning people are being manipulated into thinking they have some kind of higher moral authority to confront others with different political opinions. Many of these idiots believe the country is being taken over by Nazi’s and that if they don’t stand up and do something stupid like insult someone at a resturant then some great holocaust like event is going to take place and they ultimately will be to blame.

  19. @reading nomad

    It wont let me reply directly.

    “Legitimizing race hatred – gosh! That probably is very “democratic” and just normal isn’t it?”

    Even is she was “legitimaizing race hated” (she is not, in fact the alt right doesnt like her because she has had brown boyfriends in the past), that still has nothing to do with democracy. There has been plenty of race hatred throughout the history of democracy. There has been plenty of race hatred on the far left even.

    She is not anti-democratic, and thus, not far right. Not even close. Regardless of whatever wiki article you want to plagerize. In fact, her whole issue with Muslims, as she admits, is that Islam is incompatable with western democracy.

    “She does – as to what I have read or heard of her.”

    “Its ok to be white” memes are not indicative of extreme nationalism, reactionary, ect views. She has very typical nationalist views and again, being that she supports liberal democracy, she is not reactionary.

    “Nope. As that irrelevant. And this wrong.”

    Being Libertarian is very relevent to not being “hard right”, since libertarian are not “hard right.”

  20. Indie Wifey says

    I call this virtue vetting. And going on for something as basic as sustenance gathering aka dining out is unbelievably scary – forget notions of competing for berries; these are hunger games
    If this Virtue Vetting is to be carried through to its logical conclusion, we could all go hungry.
    While we are at it, let’s strip all museum walls, shut down every business, silence every air wave or stream and keep metooing every warm blooded human (is to err) to the curb
    I’m a historian and as such this blows me away; for in light of all we know and have, we are repeating ourselves in a cultural reach-back on par with the worst eras from not decades but centuries past

  21. Mike Lugo says

    The cognitive dissonance in these groups is really high. This, actually this, is what constitute a limit to free speech. Knowing the propensity of these cults to engage in violence, it was very irresponsible from this clown to do what he did.

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