After hosting a dinner for the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist organization, Maggiano’s Little Italy has issued an apology. The Dallas-based chain posted a statement on the Facebook page for one of its Washington DC locations, explaining protesters forced the restaurant to abruptly close "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)," the statement reads. "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 National Policy Institute is based out of Arlington, Va., and it describes itself 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 president is Richard Spencer, who is widely credited with coining the term "alt-right," a politically correct euphemism for white nationalism and white supremacy.
Members of the National Policy Institute, and other white nationalists across America, have been emboldened since Republican Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election. "And given that, I see a kind of awakening — I think we will see this in local elections," Jared Taylor, editor of white nationalist publication American Journal, recently told Vox. "School boards, city councils, mayor, maybe Congress in certain districts. That’s what I expect to happen first." Trump’s victory, which comes despite a long history of racist remarks and actions, has sparked a movement.
The National Policy Institute held its annual convention in Washington over the weekend, and a Maggiano’s in the DC neighborhood of Friendship Heights hosted the group’s dinner on Friday night. Clashes between NPI supporters and protestors resulted in multiple arrests and injuries, according to CBS News.
"We want to sincerely apologize to the community of Friendship Heights for inadvertently hosting this meeting, which resulted in hateful sentiment," Maggiano’s said in its statement. "We want you to know that at the suggestion of one of our guests, we are donating the profits from our restaurant sales on Friday, $10,000, to the DC office of the Anti-Defamation League, which for decades has been working to bring people together in peace and understanding."
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