Fiona, an upscale Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C., announced they will be hiring security guards over an incident that happened early last week. On top of the security being added, staff will also be retrained on how to avoid similar instances.
Last Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife were dining at the restaurant when a group of protesters began to heckle the couple over the senator’s support of embattled Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
The owners of Fiola sent an email out over the weekend explaining their decision where owner and head chef Fabio Trabocchi said the restaurant also had to temporarily take down all of their social media accounts due to hateful comments, and said that reservation lines were flooded with callers taunting staff and making threats to destroy the restaurant. The email states that Trabocchi and his wife Maria Font Trabocchi have both personally received death threats.
“We would have never thought such a thing was possible in the restaurant business,” the email said.
The email encouraged customers to continue going to Fiola’s because it “will emerge from this challenge quickly.”
Clips of the confrontation were posted on Twitter by an account named “SmashRacismDC (@SmashRacismDC) with the caption: “BREAKING. Activists just chased
@TedCruz out of a fancy Washington DC restaurant, chanting “We Believe Survivors!” Cruz has been friends with creep Kavanaugh for 20 years. Now Cruz is on judiciary committee hearing his testimony. Fascists not welcome! #CancelKavanugh”
BREAKING. Activists just chased @TedCruz out of a fancy Washington DC restaurant, chanting “We Believe Survivors!”
Cruz has been friends with creep Kavanaugh for 20 years. Now Cruz is on judiciary committee hearing his testimony.
— Smash Racism DC (@SmashRacismDC) September 25, 2018
The videos show Cruz being confronted by a female who tells Cruz that she is a sexual assault survivor. While the woman screams at Cruz, the senator keeps his cool, puts on his jacket and begins to try and clear a path for him and his wife to exit the restaurant.
“Do you believe survivors?” she asks. “Senator, I have a right to know what your position is on Brett Kavanaugh.”
“God bless you, ma’am,” Cruz responds.
— Smash Racism DC (@SmashRacismDC) September 25, 2018
The hecklers continued yelling at Cruz and his wife as they were making their way to the exit door, with one protester telling Cruz, “Beto is way hotter than you, dude,” referencing Beto O’Rourke, the congressman challenging Cruz in the Senate race in Texas.
Members of the Anti-Kavanaugh group told the Washington Post that they had been tipped off by the reservation made for the senator and his wife and sat at Fiola’s bar for over an hour waiting for the couple to arrive.
Maria Trabocchi (@mtrabocchi) tweeted that Cruz and his wife ended up returning to the restaurant later the same night to finish their meals.
“It was an honor to welcome back
@SenTedCruz and his wife to @fioladc on Monday evening. After a brief interruption by protesters and after police arrived, Mr. & Mrs. Cruz were able to finish their full meal. Proud of my team.”
It was an honor to welcome back @SenTedCruz and his wife to @fioladc on Monday evening. After a brief interruption by protesters and after police arrived, Mr. & Mrs. Cruz were able to finish their full meal. Proud of my team.
— Maria Font Trabocchi (@mtrabocchi) September 26, 2018
Fabio Trabocchi also released a statement – via the restaurant’s official Twitter account (@fioladc)- just a few days after the incident that said how proud he was of the way his staff handled the situation, all the while being threatened by the angry mob.
“They have shown remarkable grit and calm,” Trabocchi said in the statement. “It is scary to hear anger directed at you and those you love.”
In the statement, he also stated that investigators and security consultants were working to implement additional safety measures for all five of the restaurants owned by the Trabocchis.
The tweet also included a hashtag for not only Cruz, but his Democratic opponent, Rep. Beto O’Rourke as well, who said he believes the senator and his family should be able to dine in peace.
— Fiola (@fioladc) September 26, 2018
Cruz initially declined to speak on the incident, but while stumping in Washington County, Texas, near Brenham, the senator joked that if supporters were looking for a “nice, quiet romantic dinner in Washington,” that he had some recommendations.
When Cruz spoke with the Houston ABC affiliate regarding the Kavanaugh nomination and the protest, the senator stated, “This is a deeply divided time, and this is contributing to that, but in the wake of the 2016 election, we’ve seen viciousness and hatred…. My wife and I were targeted by protesters this week in Washington when we went out to dinner.”
Cruz continued, “It’s a shame we’re so tribalized. We’re so divided, and that anger and division is not good for our country.”
Last Thursday Cruz spoke at the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing regarding the Senate Democrats’ “inaction & delay” and later tweeted:
“Today I expressed my concerns over Senate Democrats’ inaction & delay in handling the allegations presented before
@senjudiciary, and especially how this delay harmed Dr. Ford & Judge Kavanaugh, their families, their reputations & their personal lives. —> https://bit.ly/2OSNhxh ”
Today I expressed my concerns over Senate Democrats’ inaction & delay in handling the allegations presented before @senjudiciary, and especially how this delay harmed Dr. Ford & Judge Kavanaugh, their families, their reputations & their personal lives. —> https://t.co/Gpugh1MgLE pic.twitter.com/JLMpIaMOdS
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 28, 2018
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