April 16, 2022

Ben Ashlock thought he was doing the right thing (he was and is). Then the hate started pouring in. Now, plenty of Facebook and other social media messages were in support but a disquieting amount of hate flooded in, probably fueled by the usual suspects on the right, that he's taken the American flag down and replaced it with the Ukrainian Yellow and Blue. He hadn't, of course. The Stars and Stripes still flies as well, but a Texas banner at his steakhouse was replaced by Ukraine's flag. And that made more than a few people livid.

Source: Washington Post

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.

Until then, the flag stays.

Ashlock shared a few of the messages with the Post.

- “My family eats at Colton’s Steakhouse, but will not eat there again until the Ukrainian flag is replaced with our national Flag.”

The US flag is also flown. It wasn't taken down.

- “Take that trash flag down! May Ukraine be leveled to the ground!”
- “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.”

Charming ignorance.

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