Protesters stormed chef Fabio Trabocchi’s D.C. restaurant Fiola on Monday to heckle Senator Ted Cruz, a longtime friend of Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh. “We Believe Survivors!” they yelled as Cruz and his wife Heidi Cruz gathered their things and exited out of a side door.
The incident started when a sexual assault survivor confronted Cruz at his table to ask if he planned to vote in favor of Kavanaugh, according to several social media posts.
“Hi, I’d love to talk to you about Brett Kavanaugh tonight. I’m a constituent, love to know what your vote is going to be tonight. I know that you’re very close friends with Mr. Kavanaugh,” a woman asks Cruz in a video of the incident posted by Smash Racism DC. Cruz is on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In the midst of his hearings, Kavanaugh, a Trump pick for Supreme Court Justice, has been accused of sexual misconduct by two different women. “God bless you, ma’am,” Cruz says in the video. That’s when around a dozen protesters gathered near him, shouting and recording video of the senator and his wife leaving the restaurant.
“Bless you as well, I really appreciate you,” the woman says. “I’m a survivor of sexual assault. I believe all survivors. There are now three people who have come forward and who have said that Brett Kavanaugh has attacked them. I know that you’re close friends with him. Could you talk to him about that? Could you talk to him about his position?” Cruz leaves without acknowledging the woman’s question.
As he walks out, someone yells, “Beto is hotter than you!”
Now, conservatives and Cruz supporters are calling for a boycott of Fiola, listing the restaurant’s phone number and address on Twitter, ostensibly encouraging further harassment. The tasting menu restaurant, which has one Michelin star, opened in 2011. Fiola’s Yelp page is also now under attack, with commenters accusing the chef and staff of being complicit in the protest.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was the first woman to allege Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in high school in the 1980s; she is expected to testify in a public hearing this week. This past weekend the New Yorker reported an incident involving Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s. Meanwhile, conservatives, including the president, remain supportive of Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice. Cruz and Kavanaugh have been friends for 20 years.
In a statement released on Facebook Tuesday afternoon, a representative for Fiola explained the events leading up to Cruz’s departure from the restaurant:
Last night, a group of protesters unexpectedly entered Fiola with the purpose of confronting Senator Cruz. Recognizing that there was a potential for escalation and concerned for the safety of all our customers, our management did what they could do to diffuse a difficult situation and, as is our policy, if there is ever an event of this nature, the police were immediately called. We are trained at hospitality not public safety, and our highest priority is always the well-being of our customers. Separated from the protesters, the Senator exited the restaurant and the protesters left soon thereafter.
Update 9/25/18; 1:21 p.m.: This post has been updated to include a statement from the restaurant.
BREAKING. Activists just chased @TedCruz out of a fancy Washington DC restaurant, chanting “We Believe Survivors!”— Smash Racism DC (@SmashRacismDC) September 25, 2018
Cruz has been friends with creep Kavanaugh for 20 years. Now Cruz is on judiciary committee hearing his testimony.
Fascists not welcome! #CancelKavanugh pic.twitter.com/7mx6Tc32za
• Kavanaugh protesters chase Cruz out of restaurant [The Hill]