A Washington, D.C.-area Italian restaurant apologized yesterday (November 21) for hosting a dinner for a controversial alt-right think-tank.
Maggiano’s Little Italy in Chevy Chase, Maryland, came under fire last weekend for allowing the National Policy Institute (NPI) to book for a dinner there on Friday (November 18). The NPI, which hosted its annual meeting in D.C over the weekend, is a White nationalist group that describes itself on its website as "an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world." Its leader, Richard Spencer, has called for, among other things, "peaceful ethnic cleansing."
The restaurant faced protests and calls for boycotts that escalated after Vietnamese-American reality TV mainstay Tila Tequila posted a widely-seen tweet showing her and several dinner attendees doing a Nazi salute. Her Twitter page has since been suspended.
"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," read the restaurant’s Facebook statement. Maggiano’s apologized "for inadvertently hosting this meeting, which resulted in hateful sentiment," and said that they would donate $10,000 to the Anti-Defamation League.
The NPI’s national meeting also faced criticism when The Atlantic published video, to be used in an upcoming documentary about Spencer, showing conference attendees greeting Donald Trump‘s presidential victory with Nazi salutes. The conference was met with protests, and an NPI member was injured after apparently provoking protesters.
(H/t The Root, Southern Poverty Law Center, Buzzfeed, CNN)