NJ restaurant receives death threats after case of mistaken identity

Posted: Updated:
SWEDESBORO -

A Gloucester County restaurant has been receiving death threats from callers who apparently confused it for a restaurant in Virginia that refused to serve Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The Red Hen in Swedesboro has no affiliation with the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, 315 miles away. But that has not stopped nearly 1,200 calls to the restaurant from people who believed that Sanders was refused service to eat there last week.

“It started Saturday morning, while setting up for an event we were hosting,” says owner Elizabeth Pope. “The phone calls were really aggressive, threatening, abusive…One gentleman said he hoped my children would get raped.”

Pope saved some of the messages that came through to the restaurant.

They include:

“Yes, is this the [expletive]-hole that refused to serve our press secretary?” and “I stand with Sara and President [Donald] Trump. I think you did wrong, and you should apologize publicly.”

Hostess Yadira Ibarra, 17, says that it has been especially difficult to answer all of the abusive phone calls.

“I tell them it has nothing to do with us,” she says. “We aren't associated with the Red Hen in Virginia.”

Local patrons heard about the abuse and came by to support the restaurant.

“I think they’re idiots,” customer Tony Isabella says of the callers. “I just came for a cheeseburger. That’s ridiculous.”

“I think it’s where we've been allowed to go the last couple of months, and it's just not called for,” says Maryalice Isabella.

Pope says that she is concerned for the country when she see adults behaving in this manner. She says that she would never eject a customer based on their beliefs.

President Trump tweeted about the situation in Virginia and its treatment of Sanders. 

But he did not mention the backlash against other Red Hen restaurants in the country.

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