A restaurant owner in Van Buren, Ark.,canceled a group reservation made by a local LGBT organization after learning of its mission.
Sisters Gourmet Bistro owner Richard Hodo told a local TV affiliate that he canceled the River Valley Equality Center’s Feb. 16 fundraising event at his restaurant because he “doesn’t support their cause.”
“I called them and told them that I – we’re – not going to have that at Sisters, we had no plans for that and there were no reservations to hold any kind of fundraiser or anything like that,” Hodo is quoted by KFSM News 5 as saying.
River Valley Equality Center said Hodo went on to compare the group to the Ku Klux Klan. .
“He said, 'If the KKK came to Sisters and wanted to have an event here, I would turn them down as well,'" River Valley Equality Center President Erin Fowler told reporters. He described the incident as one of “open and flagrant discrimination.”
Hodo told broadcast news reporters, “We’ve got fine dining and this is a private club and we have the right to refuse service to anyone. I’m not gonna have a fundraiser here for that or, like I said, for the KKK or the Nazis or, you know, any group that would be a controversial group.”
River Valley Equality Center members are now planning to replace the fundraising event with a Feb. 23 awareness day.