POLITICS

D.C. Restaurant Apologizes After Hosting White Nationalist Dinner

Maggiano’s Little Italy said they are donating the banquet's profits.

23/11/2016 5:10 AM AEDT | Updated 23/11/2016 5:10 AM AEDT
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The Atlantic
People attending the National Policy Institute's annual conference in Washington, D.C., on Saturday were seen making Nazi salutes and cheering Donald Trump's win.

A Washington, D.C., restaurant has vowed to donate $10,000 to the Anti-Defamation League after it says it unknowingly hosted a banquet for white nationalists on Friday.

In a Facebook post Monday, Maggiano’s Little Italy in Friendship Heights apologized for hosting the National Policy Institute, which it said booked the event under a different name.

“This was a last minute booking made Friday afternoon, and the reservation was made under a different name, therefore we were not aware that NPI was dining with us or what the group represents,” the restaurant stated.

The group was in town for its annual conference and was celebrating Donald Trump’s presidential victory, according to its website.

The restaurant was hit with protests once word got out. One photo reportedly taken inside the venue showed TV personality Tila Tequila making a Nazi salute with two men.

Tequila tweeted the photo with the misspelled caption, “Seig heil!”

Maggiano’s slammed the gesture as “extremely offensive to us” and vowed to donate the evening’s profits of $10,000 to the Anti-Defamation League in Washington, D.C.

“We want to sincerely apologize to the community of Friendship Heights for inadvertently hosting this meeting, which resulted in hateful sentiment,” the restaurant stated.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the ADL thanked Maggiano’s “for joining us in the fight against hatred and bigotry.”

Tequila has since had her Twitter account suspended. Last week, Twitter similarly suspended a number of white nationalist accounts, including the NPI and its founder, Richard Spencer. Spencer is also the informal leader of the “alt-right” movement, which has allowed white nationalists and anti-Semites to disseminate their hateful rhetoric under a more innocuous name.

In video shot Saturday and acquired by The Atlantic, Spencer is seen cheering on Trump’s win and the white race during the group’s conference at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.

“Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” he at one point called to his audience before hands darted up into the air.

A spokesman for Trump’s transition team, responding to news of the NPI’s actions, didn’t criticize the group’s behavior but did attempt to distance themselves. 

“President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elected, because he will be a leader for every American,” Bryan Lanza said in a statement. “To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds.”

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