Kentucky restaurant triggers social media anger over flying Ukrainian flag

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  29 comments

Kentucky restaurant triggers social media anger over flying Ukrainian flag
One said: "Take that trash flag down! May Ukraine be leveled to the ground!"

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Ben Ashlock thought he had settled things with a customer complaining about the Ukrainian flag atop the Kentucky steakhouse he manages.

Ashlock had opened up to the man about his personal connection to the war-torn country: He and his wife had adopted a teenage son from Ukraine three years earlier and forged friendships in the process. When Russia invaded, he wanted to show his support.

The 41-year-old general manager of a Colton's Steak House & Grill franchise figured that was it.

It wasn't. About a half-hour later, hate started coming from all fronts - the restaurant's phone, Facebook page and reviews on Google. Over the past week, the firestorm has kept raging in Bardstown, a city of about 13,500 in central Kentucky. Ashlock, describing himself as an uncontroversial person, said he had planned to keep the flag up until Russia left Ukraine.

"I would love to take the flag down … because that would mean that they're not at war anymore," he said.

Ashlock and his wife of 19 years, Darrci, forged lifelong friendships in Ukraine while there to adopt their son. The 16-year-old is one of the couple's 13 children - eight biological and five adopted or in the process of being adopted.

When the Russian military attacked on Feb. 24, Ashlock felt helpless. The owner of the steakhouse, who had helped Ashlock raise money for the adoption and paid for all three of the trips he took to Ukraine, sent the country's blue-and-yellow flag days later. Ashlock decided to fly it outside the restaurant. Once it was up, he took photos and sent them to his friends in Ukraine.

"You just let them know, even in little old Kentucky, we see you, and we're supporting you," he said, adding that he didn't think it would be a problem.

And for more than a month, it wasn't.

Until April 9 - what Ashlock called "that fateful Saturday."

That afternoon, Ashlock was working when someone sent the Colton's Facebook page a direct message: "My family eats at Colton's steakhouse, but will not eat there again until the Ukrainian flag is replaced with our national Flag."

Ashlock replied about 30 minutes later, explaining that Ukraine's flag had not replaced an American one but one of two Texas state flags the steakhouse uses to cultivate the chain's Wild West, old saloon theme. Ashlock also told the man about adopting his son "whose hometown is now in ruins and under occupation."

"I am sorry you feel this way, though," Ashlock wrote. "And I hope you'll reconsider."

He thought that, at worst, they ended in an agree-to-disagree stalemate.

His employees soon started noticing Facebook users swarming the restaurant's page to tar workers as disrespectful and unpatriotic. Some vowed never to eat there again.

Then the phone started ringing. Ashlock took the first call, a man asking why he "took the flag down." Again, Ashlock explained what had happened before food orders pulled him into the kitchen. He passed off the phone.

But it kept ringing. At one point, one of the restaurant's hosts came to him crying. "I felt horrible," he said.

Meanwhile, the negative comments kept coming. Many were removed, but before they disappeared, Ashlock took screenshots, some of which he shared with The Washington Post.

One said: "Take that trash flag down! May Ukraine be leveled to the ground!"

Another read: "It seems the only thing you accomplished flying this foreign flag is to further divide your fellow americans. One can't even [sit] down to a meal these days without having politics flown in ones face."

"I hope that Ukrainian flag is gone," one user said, adding a face-with-monocle emoji. "I prefer my steak without a side of Nazi."

Over on Google, someone left a one-star review of Colton's: "food tasted woke, management is a war monger."

"I hate to say it, because I try to be thick-skinned," Ashlock told The Post, "but it was hurtful."

Ashlock said he tried a compromise. After the blowback and misunderstanding that they had replaced an American flag, Ashlock swapped out the other Texas state flag for the Stars and Stripes. He consulted with military friends to make sure he was practicing proper flag etiquette by flying it higher than the Ukrainian one.

Doing that wasn't a "crisis of conscience" - Ashlock said that's who he is. Twenty-five years working in the service industry have trained him to be the first to apologize, to defer to customers, and to admit when he or the restaurant has made a mistake.

"I've never been in a predicament before where I couldn't make someone happy and not, like, violate my conscience."

Until now. While Ashlock said he was happy to fly the American flag, he didn't think it would be right to cave in to demands to take down Ukraine's as people there - including his friends - fight for their freedom.

So he hasn't.

At a steakhouse chain in the middle of Kentucky - more than 5,000 miles away from its mother country - the Ukrainian flag still flies.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

Crazy ass far right trying to ruin this restaurant. What a shame. 

 
 
 
arkpdx
PhD Participates
1.1  arkpdx  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

And you know it is the right that is doing this? I am on the right and I fully support the restaurants position. I have two tshirts that show my support for Ukraine and I wear them proudly. 

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
1.1.1  XXJefferson51  replied to  arkpdx @1.1    one month ago

I agree.  I’m on the right and I too support this restaurant.  My hometown lit up our landmark bridge in the blue and yellow of Ukraine.  The public asked for it to be done and the city council did it. 

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
1.1.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  XXJefferson51 @1.1.1    one month ago

Same here.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2  Ender    one month ago

I can only shake my head anymore.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3  Kavika     one month ago

Unbelievable

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1  Ender  replied to  Kavika @3    one month ago

I am beginning to think we live in a country of morons.

 
 
 
arkpdx
PhD Participates
3.1.1  arkpdx  replied to  Ender @3.1    one month ago

You may be right. Way to many people voted for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1.2  Ender  replied to  arkpdx @3.1.1    one month ago

Everything in your world is only right and left, isn't it...

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3.1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  Ender @3.1.2    one month ago

Isn't yours?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.4  TᵢG  replied to  Greg Jones @3.1.3    one month ago

A sure sign of a partisan / ideologue is the inability to conceive of a reality that is not ideologically / politically binary.

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
3.1.5  bbl-1  replied to  Greg Jones @3.1.3    one month ago

No.  There are things like Choice, Voter Rights, Civil Rights, Fair Tax Laws, clean up dirty water, air----you know, stuff like that.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Kavika @3    one month ago
Over on Google, someone left a one-star review of Colton's: "food tasted woke, management is a war monger."

Now, I guess, supporting Ukraine over the invader is "wokeism". 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
4  Paula Bartholomew    one month ago

It is KY, home of child brides and ignorance.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Expert
4.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4    one month ago
It is KY, home of child brides and ignorance.

Is your state home of bigotry?

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
4.1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @4.1    one month ago

Is yours?  Papa oscar.

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
4.1.2  XXJefferson51  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @4.1    one month ago

Yes it is!  I can say it because unfortunately it’s my state too.  

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Expert
5  Drinker of the Wry    one month ago

I don't know about home to, but there are certainly bigots in Virginia.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
6  Sparty On    one month ago

I find it hilarious that many of the folks outraged by this are probably still boycotting places like chick-fil-a and hobby lobby.

Funny, very funny.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
6.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Sparty On @6    one month ago

Today’s prize for most irrelevant whataboutism goes to sparty.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
6.1.1  Sparty On  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @6.1    one month ago

Thank you.

It helps reinforce how spot on my comment is with reviews like that.

Thx again!

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
7  Tacos!    one month ago

What a ridiculous thing to be pissed off about. 

And even if you care enough about what’s happening in Ukraine to also care about the flag, why would you side with Russia? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
8  TᵢG    one month ago

We can all see that very same sentiment right here in this forum (with one individual).   

Ukraine was invaded by a superior military power and its citizens have been brutalized, murdered, raped and mutilated by same.   To not empathize with the plight of the people of Ukraine is beyond contemptable.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Expert
9  Drinker of the Wry    one month ago

I've read multiple articles on this incident from local TV to national newspapers/magazines and not in one has anyone been willing to publicly state what their issue is.  I also went to the restaurant Facebook page and was gratified to see multiple notes of support. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
9.1  Tacos!  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @9    one month ago
I also went to the restaurant Facebook page and was gratified to see multiple notes of support. 

It’s helpful to point that out. Support hardly ever makes the news. It’s always the handful of negative crackpots on Twitter who drive the headlines.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
10  Sparty On    one month ago

It’s nobodies business what flag I run up a flagpole on my property.

Nobodies.   

All of the Francis’s of the world just need to relax

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
10.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Sparty On @10    one month ago

Yep. Another reason I'm glad I live in Arizona.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
11  Ed-NavDoc    one month ago

Small minded losers on the fringe with little or no compassion for the suffering of others.

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
12  bbl-1    one month ago

Is it possible that Putin overestimated his actual support in the US?  

Not to say there isn't many within the ranks of the MAGA there are pro Putin enclaves.

Putin's propaganda arm is effective.  Destroy the enemy from within and make sure the enemy approves.

 
 

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