An alarming scene of white supremacy has surfaced on social media from an unlikely place: a family-style Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C.Maggiano’s Little Italy has apologized after inadvertently hosting a banquet for the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank that has been making headlines recently for celebrating a Trump victory with imagery reminiscent of Hitler's rise to power.
The diners performed Nazi salutes (Sieg Heil) to welcome in the era of Trump’s presidency. Later, the restaurant staff was alerted to the nature of the event when attendee and former reality TV star Tila Tequila tweeted a photo of herself doing the Seil Heil salute, according to the Washington Post.
In a Facebook post, Maggiano’s Little Italy, which has multiple locations throughout the country, apologized for the whole incident and has promised that the $10,000 of proceeds from that evening would be donated to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that “fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all,” according to its website.
Maggiano’s posted the following statement to Facebook on Monday morning:
“On Friday night, Maggiano’s in Friendship Heights was the inadvertent site of a protest that caused us to close our restaurant to protect the safety of our Teammates and Guests.
“The protesters were upset because of a banquet we were hosting for a group called the National Policy Institute (NPI). 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. After the event, an attendee sent a tweet in which she made a ‘Sieg Heil salute’ in support of Hitler and white supremacy. This expression of support of Hitler is extremely offensive to us, as our restaurant is home to Teammates and Guests of every race, religion and cultural background.
“We want to sincerely apologize to the community of Friendship Heights for inadvertently hosting this meeting, which resulted in hateful sentiment.”
Tila Tequila’s Twitter account appears to have been deactivated in light of her extremist post.