Thursday 18 October 2018

Restaurant manager sacked after refusing to serve customer in Make America Great Again hat

Darin Hodge has 'absolutely no regrets' over stand against 'white supremacy'

The man was fired from Vancouver's Stanley Park Teahouse Photo: Google Maps
The man was fired from Vancouver's Stanley Park Teahouse Photo: Google Maps

Tom Embury-Dennis

A restaurant manager in Canada has been sacked after refusing to serve a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat.

Darin Hodge, who was manager of Vancouver’s Stanley Park Teahouse restaurant, said he had “absolutely no regrets” over Tuesday’s incident, which saw him lose his job two days later.

The row erupted after he asked the unnamed customer to remove his MAGA baseball cap, which has become a prominent political symbol of Donald Trump’s US presidency.

For many critics of Mr Trump, the red hat has come to represent nationalism, racism and the perceived authoritarianism of his administration.

After the man refused, reportedly saying he had a right to wear the cap, he was told he would not be served, and subsequently left the restaurant.

“I stand by my decision to ask the patron to remove his hat,” Mr Hodge told Global News. “The MAGA hat has come to symbolise racism, bigotry, islamophobia, misogyny, white supremacy, homophobia.

Donald Trump gestures to a his camouflaged ‘Make America Great’ hat as he discusses his support by the National Rifle Association at a campaign rally in Redding, California
Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP
Donald Trump gestures to a his camouflaged ‘Make America Great’ hat as he discusses his support by the National Rifle Association at a campaign rally in Redding, California Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP

“As a person with a strong moral backbone, I had to take a stand against this guest’s choice of headwear while in my former place of work. Absolutely no regrets.”

But the Sequoia Group of Restaurants, which owns the Teahouse, said Mr Hodge’s refusal of service amounted to a violation of the company’s “philosophy of tolerance”.

“Sequoia does not support intolerance of any kind, and it is because of these principles that we cannot discriminate against someone based on their support for the current administration in the United States or any other bona fide political party,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The incident comes days after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was forced to leave a restaurant in Virginia, due to what the owner said was her involvement in an “inhumane and unethical” Trump administration.

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