Woman gets death threats, has same name as Red Hen restaurant owner

Woman gets death threats, has same name as Red Hen restaurant owner
Stephanie Wilkinson says she has been targeted by threatening phone calls, even though she is not the Red Hen owner.

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A Henrico woman is getting death threats after a Virginia restaurant turned away the president's press secretary.

The Red Hen controversy hits close too home for Henrico resident Stephanie Wilkinson. Unfortunately for her, she has the same name as the owner of the Lexington restaurant that turned Sarah Huckabee Sanders away.

"There are two of us with the exact same name. I've never been to Lexington. I don't even know about the Red Hen," said Wilkinson.

Wilkinson has been dealing with a barrage of angry phone calls and texts since Saturday, for something she had nothing to do with.

"Usually I'll just swipe left and decline them, but every once in a while I'll answer one," said Wilkinson. "They call me an F'ing liar, a liberal liar or a communist pig."

This has become an unfortunate but regular occurrence.

"It just goes on and on and on and on...like really disgusting things," said Wilkinson.

Wilkinson of Henrico may share the same exact name as the owner of the Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, but she doesn't agree with turning away Sanders.

"My personal thought was A: that wasn't a very nice to do and B: you kind of shot yourself in the foot," said Wilkinson.

But now Wilkinson of Henrico is the one taking all the fire. She says somehow, someone found her personal cell phone number and blasted it all over social media.

Wilkinson posted a scathing Facebook post, telling people that she is not the right "Stephanie Wilkinson."

"I'm over 400 phone calls. My voice mail is full," said Wilkinson.

So far, that's done nothing to stop the flurry of threatening calls.

"One of them told me to put the barrel of a shotgun down my throat. Not me - they think they're talking to 'Stephanie Wilkinson,'" said Wilkinson.

This mother of two's biggest fear is that these toxic callers may find out where she lives.

"I'm just afraid that they're not going to let it go, and I probably will have to end up changing my number when it's all said and done, because I don't think it's going to stop," said Wilkinson.

Sanders' trip to Lexington was not a complete bust. The owner of Good Place Farms Bed and Breakfast had no problem letting Sanders and her family stay there over the weekend.

Justin Peery says he heard about Sanders' experience at the Red Hen soon after she and her family settled in. He was surprised and saddened to hear it.

"She became a guest of Good Place Farms. She wasn't the press secretary. We didn't treat her differently," said Peery.

The reactions to the Red Hen incident are mixed, but many businesses in Lexington are worried about what the backlash will mean for their own bottom lines.

Several Lexington restaurant owners say people have been calling them to complain even though they had nothing to do with the incident.

"Red Hen" restaurants in Connecticut and New Jersey have also been swamped with complaints.

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