British Columbia

Vancouver restaurant manager unrepentant after refusing Trump supporter

The manager of a popular Vancouver tourist restaurant has been fired after refusing service to a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Darin Hodge fired following confrontation at the Teahouse in Stanley Park

A man wearing a 'Make America Great Again. cap was refused service by a manager at the Teahouse in Vancouver's Stanley Park. (CBC)

The manager of a popular Vancouver tourist restaurant has been fired after refusing service to a supporter of Donald Trump.

A man wearing one of the U.S. president's "Make America Great Again" hats was refused service at the Teahouse in Stanley Park on Tuesday by Darin Hodge.

According to the restaurant's general manager, the man was seated on the patio that evening when Hodge, the floor manager at the time, confronted him.

"[He] took over the table and requested that he take the hat off," said Andy Crimp.

"[The customer] said he had a right to wear it. [Hodge] said if you don't take the hat off, we won't serve you. And the man left."

The Sequoia Company, which runs the restaurant, says Hodge was fired for not following its "philosophy of tolerance."

He had worked at the restaurant for about 18 months, according to staff.

The Teahouse is run by the Sequoia Company, which fired floor manager Darin Hodge after hearing of the incident. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

'Absolutely no regrets'

Hodge was unapologetic in a statement to CBC News.

"I stand by my decision," he wrote via Facebook. "The MAGA hat has come to symbolize racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, misogyny, white supremacy, [and] homophobia."

"As a person with a strong moral backbone, I had to take a stand against this guest's choice of headwear while in my former place of work. Absolutely no regrets," he added.

A similar incident unfolded last week when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant in Virginia.

In a similar incident, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant last week in Virginia. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

But Republican strategist Brendan Steinhauser says it's a "really bad idea" for politics to be part of "everything that we do." 

Steinhauser also says things might have been handled better if the company had counselled Hodge, rather than terminate him.

"Even if you have zero tolerance, it might be that he's sent home for two weeks without pay or something like that," he told CBC News. 

"When we fire people like this… it could be a teachable moment, but instead it's just going to perpetuate this and cause more problems."

General manager Andy Crimp says Hodge informed him of the incident after it occurred. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

The human rights codes of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario do not prohibit an individual from denying service to someone based on their political beliefs, according to Gregory Ko, a Toronto-based civil litigator who specializes in employment law, who spoke to CBC News following the incident in Virginia.

The restaurant stands by its decision.

"[Hodge] was aware what he was doing was probably contrary to our values and our philosophy as a company in terms of hospitality and inclusiveness," said Crimp.

"We don't discriminate against people based on political beliefs."