Olive Garden apologizes for not allowing U.S. flag

Olive Garden is apologizing for refusing to allow an 80-year-old Kiwanis Club member to display the U.S. flag at an Alabama restaurant.

The City of Oxford website.

The City of Oxford website.

The Kiwanis Club in the east Alabama city of Oxford had planned a banquet, but Marti Warren, of Anniston, said she wasn’t allowed to bring the flag or a banner into the building.

Warren, in a Fox News interview, said, “This is not my country. This is not my country I grew up with.”

Warren, a former educator, told Fox she was outraged. “I was so angry. I felt like I had been slapped in the face.”

Oxford is located 90 miles west of Atlanta on I-20.

Management at the restaurant refused to answer questions concerning the incident, such as the size of the flag.

A media contact would not answer specific questions either, but did issue an apology via email.

“We are very sorry for any misunderstanding about this issue. We do not have a policy at Olive Garden concerning bringing the American flag into our restaurants. Some members of our team were misinformed about company policy by our corporate office. As a company we take responsibility for that and we regret it. We take pride in how we communicate to our restaurants and we are correcting this so it doesn’t happen again. Like all Americans we have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the American flag and everything it symbolizes, and we welcome anyone who wishes to bring the flag into our restaurants. In fact, we periodically provide American flag collar pins to our employees to wear while serving guests.”

The parent firm of Olive Garden,  Darden restaurants, which also operates the Red Lobster and Longhorn chains, is based in Orlando.

764 comments Add your comment

Netbanker

October 12th, 2011
3:21 pm

Oh for goodness sake people! It wasn’t OLIVE GARDEN the corporation…it was that specific location. Talk about over reacting…even the Kiwanis Club over reacted. They can’t hold a meeting without the flag?!

Bytor2112

October 12th, 2011
3:21 pm

Whocares, a Kiwanis Club meeting is the time and place for a display of the flag! I’m hopeful that they found a more open minded establishment that will not discriminate against a patriotic display. With any luck, Olive Garden will suffer some financial fallout from their short sighted and wantonly stupid decision.

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:21 pm

Sorry JW it’s just a rectangular piece of dyed and stitched cotton get over yourself

Will Stockdale

October 12th, 2011
3:23 pm

Hey Ben, maybe you’ll get to like the Air Force. Zooming all over the sky and shouting ROGER and WILCO and everything. Maybe it won’t be so bad.

P.S. Olive Garden food makes me want to VOMIT.

Captain Midnight

October 12th, 2011
3:23 pm

Billy Mays here, your button pushing skills are Lame buddy.

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:23 pm

I actually want to eat at Olive Garden again because all the reactionary hayseeds have vowed to stay away… gahahaha, who am I kidding. You’ll “boycott” Olive Garden for a month or two maybe, then you piggies will be back at the slop trough.

john matthew crevis

October 12th, 2011
3:25 pm

Did they still hold the meeting there?

Captain Midnight

October 12th, 2011
3:26 pm

“piggies”.. that’s good. Wow Billyboy are you penpals with Manson or what?

jw

October 12th, 2011
3:26 pm

Billy Mays…maybe you can’t read…but it’s okay…I’m sure there are programs that Americans fund to teach you how. The link says it all…but I supposed you’d prefer to go do another line of cocaine…one word sums you up FOOL!

buttz

October 12th, 2011
3:27 pm

i will go with all you peeple that say og has the right to do with thier property
what they will but then that must include everything

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:27 pm

Care detected.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

October 12th, 2011
3:27 pm

@SIGMONICUS

Much as the sheep stream media (current forum included) have demonized the TeaParty Patriot movement as ignorant hillbillies (when in fact, the average education level and Income level is Higher than either GOP or DNC , inclusively), they have for decades tried to paint White Nationalism as fringe and attractive to low IQs. I am not here today to correct that, but I will say I move in highly technical and professional circles, and there is growing presence ..an awakening, a realization among white middle class professionals in this country, that the program of forced multiculturalism and political correctness of the past quarter century has done irreparable harm to their futures, and they shudder to think of the fast approaching future of their children if things are not halted and reversed. Tough economic times have, thru out history, acted as catalysts..we may be , by design, off the radar much more than a bunch of 20 yr old anarcho-socialists in NYC, but we are a thousand times more effective.

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:28 pm

You’re embarrassing Auburn alums and fans everywhere, Trisha

GDAWGS23

October 12th, 2011
3:28 pm

YES. GO DAWGS!!!

ditto, who cares

October 12th, 2011
3:28 pm

First…. Why is this even in the news? Oxford, Alabama…. Who cares? Slow news day?

Second…. Is every organization that wants to have a “banquet” at Olive Garden allowed to bring in any flags and banners that they want? That could actually become controversial (ex. gay pride, KKK, etc.)

Third…. “I was so angry. I felt like I had been slapped in the face.” – Marti Warren. You would think someone with 80 years under their belt would have developed some semblance of a life and realize that there are important things in this world to be outraged over.

and finally, “banquet” is a strong term considering that Olive Garden is a sorry excuse for an Italian restaurant, but in the glorified truck stop that is Oxford, it’s the best they’ve got.

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:28 pm

these uber “patriots” are so pathetic! they HATE OBAMA and think thats being patriotic since hes a black, go figure!

Who Cares?

October 12th, 2011
3:30 pm

The imposter “whocares” who placed the initial post is an idiot. This is America, well for now anyway. If the citizens of this country don’t start letting it be known that this is America, we’ll be living in a foreign land. Some might argue that we already are. We already have to tolerate too much idiocy in our society, due to the pandering of the bed wetting liberals. Have a backbone and turn this ship around! Enough stupidity is enough. With that said, the email that was sent by Olive Garden responding to questions pertaining to this incident showed that they had enough sense to realize the financial implications of this situation. Obviously, if you want your message heard and responded to, hit these companies in the wallet. They’ve proven they have no sensual perception anywhere except their wallet.

Legaltype

October 12th, 2011
3:32 pm

I see a lot of people talking about respecting our country. What most of you need to remember is that our country (or our land) and our government are two different things. I love my country. I think our government is horrible. And for those of you who try to say that our country and our government are one and the same, then the truth is that our country doesn’t give a crap about any of us. In fact, there are millions of people in this country right now who are struggling terribly because of our country/government. And speaking of respect, does our country (government) respect the people that fight for it once they return home? Go ask that question to one of these poor guys or girls that come home handicapped from serving their country. Does the government care? If they do, they sure are slack about showing it. Sure you get free healthcare, but in order to get it you have to go to a VA hospital. I wouldn’t send my dog to a VA hospital. The flag is very important, but with everything horrible going on in today’s society, I’m just saying that most people have more things to get upset over than whether a local chain restaurant does or does not allow a flag during a banquet.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

October 12th, 2011
3:32 pm

@ Billy Mays Here

..well you died last year, so…you can’t be embarrassed

Rick

October 12th, 2011
3:34 pm

My family and I will never eat there or their affiliates agan.

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:34 pm

You can, and should be Trisha

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:35 pm

People just like to be passive aggressive online no one’s actually going to stop eating at Olive Garden

jope20

October 12th, 2011
3:35 pm

SIGMONICUS so sorry you are correct….my fingers aren’t as fast as my old brain!

OliveAmerica

October 12th, 2011
3:36 pm

People talk about the size of the flag (not that it matters) but I don’t see any reference to the size of the flag in the article.

jope20

October 12th, 2011
3:36 pm

BILLY MAYS HERE

You are wrong …I will never eat at OG……it’s not really Italian!!!!

Tim Genest

October 12th, 2011
3:38 pm

Olive Garden has a right to ban the flag and I have a right to take my business else where. If you want to serve Americans at least act like someone who supports Americans.

jope20

October 12th, 2011
3:38 pm

OliveAmerica

I read another article and it stated they wanted to place a flag on the tables??? Not sure if this is fact or not???

louann brown

October 12th, 2011
3:39 pm

Enter your comments here

OliveAmerica

October 12th, 2011
3:39 pm

Billy you don’t know me so you shouldn’t make blanket assumptions like that. I’m actually going to stop eating at the Olive Garden now. I never liked their food anyway, only ever went with family.

louann brown

October 12th, 2011
3:40 pm

No more Olive Garden for me. When their business declines, I hope they know the reason why!!

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:41 pm

the flag is just a symbol not something to be worshipped

Quivery

October 12th, 2011
3:41 pm

For those of you who think that Olive Garden was right, you need to move immediately to another country.

DJN

October 12th, 2011
3:41 pm

I am a proud american citizen. Shame on Olive Garden. America is good enough to make money on, but not good enough to fly our flag…sad

Debbie Hudson

October 12th, 2011
3:41 pm

Sheesh, it was just a misunderstanding of corporate policies. Olive Garden does not have a corporate policy against displaying the US flag. So, enough with the boycotting stuff. IMHO all this huffing and puffing is ignorant.

sylvia

October 12th, 2011
3:41 pm

We recently had a birthday at Olive Garden in Jackson TN for an exchange student from Japan. We didn’t hang any flags, but had birthday cake and gifts to celebrate the occasion. Nothing was over bearing for the other customers to be forced to endure, and we even offered cup cakes to those around us. The staff was kind and generous with thier time and service. Perhaps, the club wanting a flag could have opted for a centerpiece with a small flag for thier celebration and enjoyment. I appreciate the decor at Olive Garden, the old world charm of Italy. However, I can appreciate and respect those that wanted to celebrate a moment of American history that has endured over the years to represent our patriotism. We have to start working with each other to accomplish happy mediums. Just look where our country is now, with it’s lack of Unity and cooperation in government. This incident only proves to me that we need to start offering solutions from the people up-wards. Cooperate with each other, and show our Government how it is supposed to be done.

jw

October 12th, 2011
3:42 pm

@jope20…if that is true then Olive Garden did them a favor as the flag is never to touch anything beneath it

daddio

October 12th, 2011
3:43 pm

You’re right, it is their right to refuse to let them bring the flag in. But it is exceptionally stupid to do so. This is for a banquet and I’m sure they paid for the room. Therefore, as far as I’m concerned if the want to hang up pictures of Hitler, it’s constitutionally legal. As far as the crazy old lady is concerned you people need some respect slapped on you. This woman grew up during WWII. Do any of you even know the Allies saved the frickin’ world? Believe me their generation had a lot more class and BALLS the the current one. You people are screwing yourselves with your tollerance and you don’t even realize it. I puke from you. Glad I won’t be around when the muslims overrun you, gain control of congress and start outlawing our beliefs.

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:44 pm

nobody is more racist than these rightwing PEE PARTIERS who hates anything black or brown

Darden Waiver

October 12th, 2011
3:44 pm

You won’t be surprised to know that the Darden chain including Olive Garden and Red Lobster recieved one of the precious waivers from Obamacare…

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:45 pm

@quivery

no its u who needs to move! buh bye

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:46 pm

@darden

here we go, blame it on OBAMA, priceless! thanks for your unbiased analysis,lol

GulfVet49

October 12th, 2011
3:46 pm

It seems like the liberals are hypocrites on the one hand they preach tolerance but on the other hand they are the most intolerant people when someone espouses another opinion. Liberals stop resorting to name calling when you don’t have facts to back your arguments.

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:48 pm

i use the flag to wipe my butt. does that make me anti american? lol

Scott Hanselman

October 12th, 2011
3:48 pm

If you read the article you would see it was for a banquet. Presumably, they would have a section of the restaurant to themselves where all of you easily offended idiots wouldn’t have to deign to gaze at the US flag. This country dismays me no end.

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:49 pm

i’m glad OLIVE GARDEN stood up to these racist “patriotic” fools

RetiredVet

October 12th, 2011
3:49 pm

Read it again. She refused because it was NOT the flag of the country she grew up in.That tells me she would honor and alow a flag ONLY if it was of the country she grew up in. Her patriatism is there but not for The United States of America, where she is allowed freedom of speech. Another foreigner getting more rights than the true american that was born here and fought for their country. Shoot me now, I have seen it all!

DENNIS SANTORO

October 12th, 2011
3:50 pm

IT’S CLEAR TO SEE AFTER READING THESE COMMENTS WHY THE USA IS GOING DOWN THE TUBES. ALL YOU ANTI AMERICAN CLOWNS NEED TO GO TO IRAN. OUR FLAG SHOULD NOT BE BANNED FROM HANGING ANYWHERE A PERSON WANTS TO BRING IT AND WE SHOULD ALL BE PROUD TO SEE IT STILL FLYING

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:50 pm

I don’t think Olive Garden really “stood up to” anyone inasmuch as they just ignored them (as they should).

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:51 pm

If it makes any of you feel any better the flag was probably made in China anyway

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:51 pm

these same uber patriots call the president every racist name they can think of but theyre so offended by this, lol