Busboys and Poets claims to hold ‘respectful conversations between diverse groups’
Patrick Hauf • January 13, 2022 5:20 pm
A liberal Washington, D.C., restaurant that bills itself as a “venue for respectful conversations between diverse groups” canceled an event organized by a group of pro-life Democrats.
Democrats for Life of America scheduled an event at Busboys and Poets, a popular progressive restaurant and bookstore, in advance of the March for Life on Jan. 21. This week, the restaurant contacted Democrats for Life executive director Kristen Day and inquired about the group’s stance on abortion. The restaurant canceled the event after it confirmed that Democrats for Life is pro-life.
Busboys and Poets tells the Washington Free Beacon that it is a “safe space” that refuses to elevate voices it believes oppose human rights.
“While we welcome conversations from individuals expressing different viewpoints and pride ourselves on being a venue for respectful conversations between diverse groups, we are also a safe space,” a restaurant spokeswoman said. “As such, we can not knowingly accept events designed to fund an agenda which our community members believe to be trampling on the rights of others.”
Day tells the Free Beacon that the Busboys and Poets representative who contacted her was “extremely rude.” She says she tried to emphasize that Democrats for Life is also pro-LGBTQ and anti-death penalty but that the representative seemed solely concerned with the group’s opposition to abortion.
“Progressives talk about being inclusive, but then they turn people away because of what they believe,” Day said. “It’s very contradictory to what the message is supposed to be.”
Busboys and Poets says it is a “home for progressives, artists, creatives and intellectuals.” Its six, soon to be seven, restaurants in the D.C. area have hosted events with extremists such as Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, former Communist Party USA leader Angela Davis, supporters of former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, and 9/11 truthers.
Busboys and Poets founder and CEO Andy Shallal has accused Israel of “terrorizing the Middle East” and “ethnically cleans[ing]” Palestinians. He also said the United States takes “marching orders from Tel Aviv.” Shallal in 2014 ran for mayor of D.C. with an endorsement from the Democratic Socialists of America.
Day tells the Free Beacon that hostility toward her group has increased in recent years. Democrats for Life has historically met with the chair of the Democratic National Committee but was shunned last year for the first time in the group’s two-decade existence.
“When something like this happens it gives us the courage to keep going,” Day said. “We can’t let this stand.”