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

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:52 pm

American’ts

Niatzu

October 12th, 2011
3:52 pm

I couldn’t tell from the article if the group had a private room for their banquet. If so a banner or flag probably wouldn’t have disrupted things. Though..what if it’s been a confederate flag? Or maybe a swastika? I went to my husbands farewell lunch for the Navy and we didn’t bring a flag with us. Though most of the folks were in uniform. Honestly I’d like to see a no kid policy for the nicer restaurants. I’m tired of paying for a sitter to have a nice evening out with my husband only to have to listen to someone else’s kid.

budman

October 12th, 2011
3:52 pm

You can have a Marine color guard opening the door and wall to wall American flags…it would take a lot more than that to get me to eat what is a horrible meal and the service I experienced was piss poor. Oh!! everyone is a super patriotic now. They are probable the ones who spit on me when I was in San Fran coming back from Vietnam. Doesn’t matter anymore.
I still remember the guy who was arrested in Atlanta in the late 1960’s. He had an American flag patch on his jeans. and was charged with disrepecting the flag…now it’s a fashion statment. I don’t care if they had a Nazi flag in there, still not going…I really don’t eat food that smells like an arm pit.Right on legaltype…I wouldn’t let the VA treat my animals either…It’s a good place to go and die…that’s about it.

John Flag

October 12th, 2011
3:52 pm

I respect the fact that they have the right not to allow the American Flag in their place.I also have the right not to visit their place. Never like their food anyways and after this I WILL NEVER GO IN THEIR PLACE and I will ask many of my friends not to go their to.

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:53 pm

@dennis

so if someone wanted to display a flag on your private property they should be allowed to do so?u said the flag should be allowed anywhere didnt you?

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:53 pm

No one was ever spat on returning from Vietnam, stop perpetuating that lie.

Barb Mumbauer

October 12th, 2011
3:54 pm

Yes, there is a time & place for everything,people just need to get a life.

RetiredVet

October 12th, 2011
3:56 pm

liberalefty – so what do you use to wash yout mouth out with? The blood of the soldiers that would protect ths land and everything it stands for? You know you do have the right the get on any plane and leave the country and never come back right? So Ii say if you dont get on that plane then there must be something that you do like about this country. So i say again, leave or stay here and SHUT UP!!

ed jones

October 12th, 2011
3:56 pm

i care dirt bag

Who Cares?

October 12th, 2011
3:56 pm

What I want to know is, what does Kim Kolziak think about this?

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:56 pm

will these super duper patriots boycott all of the companies that does business with OLIVE GARDEN like suppliers, stockholders,banks etc.?

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:57 pm

Stop telling us to leave the country, it’s worn out and thrown around so much it has no meaning anymore. Get a new act.

MIke

October 12th, 2011
3:57 pm

Olive Garden is absolutely free to impose whatever restrictions they like on patrons voluntarily entering their restaurant. However, they are not free from the PR consequences of whatever decision they make. Why do some folks have a hissy fit when someone else says “I don’t like what that business did and I chose not to give them my money?” If that’s “censorship” then can I force you to spend money at a business you don’t like?

Businesses are free to make whatever choices they like and customers are free to choose where and where not to spend their money. What’s the difficulty here?

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:57 pm

Indeed…. what *does* Kim Kolziak think about this?

Stars & Stripes Forever!

October 12th, 2011
3:58 pm

Where’s Betsy Ross when we really need her?

Scott Hanselman

October 12th, 2011
3:58 pm

Let me guess… liberallefty foams at the mouth at preaches tolerance when someone wants to burn the Koran…it is just a book. I don’t have a problem when someone wants to burn the American flag…it is, and should be, protected speech, but I can’t see why someone would deny another the right to display the flag.

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:58 pm

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
3:58 pm

@retiredvet

youre not the only ones who served this country and u have no right to tell someone who dont agree with you to leave this country. YOU CAN ;LEAVE IT TOO, bye

Captain Midnight

October 12th, 2011
3:59 pm

liberallefty and billy mays are the same little liberal turd. it’s obvious.

Stars & Stripes Forever!

October 12th, 2011
3:59 pm

You got dat rite!

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:59 pm

I’m actually a large turd irl.

Cheryl Eversole

October 12th, 2011
4:00 pm

They didn’t say Olive Garden bans the American Flag, it was a mistake by the Manager at this one particuliar Olive Garden. Flags are allowed at Olive Garden, please read, they are apologizing for their employee’s mistake….anyone can make a mistake. I feel the flag is a symbole of our Great County and I personally feel every Corporation on our soil should fly one outside their establishment, but that’s my personal opinion. I feel the flag is very important symbol of America’s History and Triump over Adversity….long may Ole Glory Wave!!!!!

OLDDUDE

October 12th, 2011
4:02 pm

LIBERAL LEFTY YOUR A IDIOT, YOUR THE ONLY RACIST I’VE SEEN SO FAR

alex

October 12th, 2011
4:02 pm

Gotta say if any resturaunt(sp?) is stupid enough to stop someone from raising an american flag in alabama ,you may not want to eat there! Free not to allow the flag, free not to eat their;free to have kids in the facility,free to eat somewhere else,FREE….. Endless shrimp(brains)

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
4:02 pm

@scott hanselman

why should i care if someone burns a book? why are so many folks mad about this? i guess y’all’s life must be a bed of roses if this is what u get mad about

Linda NIchols

October 12th, 2011
4:03 pm

Olive Garden has lost a customer. Members of my family and others have fought and died for the US flag and what it stands for. I will not support a business that does not honor the United States flag and now Olive Garden is backing off their original decision because it was an unpopular one. Too little too late as far as I am concerned. No I do not “wrap” myself in the symbol of our country but I do respect it and every day I see a little more of our freedom being eroded and it is of concern to me.
My father died in a war to defend that flag and the freedoms it represents. You commenters have a right to your opinion but I also have a right to mine. Respectfully submitted.

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
4:03 pm

@alex

why are u alabamians so patriotic and RACIST?

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
4:03 pm

In a week none of you will remember this, give it up. Darden isn’t shaking in its boots because of a small group of hickoids posting online.

Steve Woods

October 12th, 2011
4:04 pm

The sad part about this is the fact that the CEO of Dardin (Olive Garden) is a Director on the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Wow!

angie richburg

October 12th, 2011
4:05 pm

apology or not, i will NOT dine there again. apology? they were wrong to even stop someone from bringing in an american flag to set up for a private banquet. this country has gone to hell in a hand basket.

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
4:07 pm

@angie

wrong ,this country is doing better than it was in the mythical “good ole days” conservatives yearn for

Captain Midnight

October 12th, 2011
4:08 pm

Why do these stories keep coming up? You would think that every American business, ecspecially ones that deal with the public would have a clear cut policy on dealing with the “multi cultural” society that we’re dealing with. When the manager was informed that a CIVIC organization like the Kiwanis club would be meeting there, was he/she that stupid not to know that there would be an American flag on display? I’m sorry, but the American flag trumps Everyone. If you are in a room with it, you are there as it’s guest.

DILLIRGAF

October 12th, 2011
4:08 pm

I will never EAT there again it is Crap Food anyway *$%^&@@@

Steve

October 12th, 2011
4:09 pm

It is amazing the number of comments – without even reading the FACTS about what happened, why it happened and the companies POSITION regarding bringing an American flag. I guess soe people prefer to fly off the handle with ‘rants’ rather than take the trouble to determine the facts prior to making a comment {why am I not surprised}

ryan D.

October 12th, 2011
4:09 pm

and meanwhile, rome is burning.

RetiredVet

October 12th, 2011
4:10 pm

liberalefty and Billy Mays – You know the first thing to go on a sinking ship are the RATS.. and I can see you doing that while down below are people who value things and try to repair a sinking ship that you dont see..

alex

October 12th, 2011
4:10 pm

From atlanta, your an idiot, read my post;calls of racism are as common here in atlanta as unemployment,no you may not have your welfare check…

GulfVet49

October 12th, 2011
4:10 pm

Angie-I think it’s worse than that the country is going to Hell in a dumpster thanks to the liberal left and their vaunted multiculturalism and lack of respect for the Constitution.

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
4:11 pm

Yeah I don’t believe in forgiveness either. Jesus was such a moron.

jojo cruz

October 12th, 2011
4:12 pm

Alot of people here are not understanding that this person was not dining there with the flag .Her group was having a party there a banquet like it says in the article.The group is known to display the flag Olive Garden has big PR nightmare on there hands I see that poor manager getting fired soon for his stupidity.This is America we schould have the flag flying everywhere if people do not like it you can always leave.

Captain Midnight

October 12th, 2011
4:13 pm

Billy, you’re a coke snortin huckster. Your opinions don’t matter.

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
4:13 pm

No one will be fired, it’s not a PR nightmare, you’re just overreacting.

If the U.S. flag is not welcome in your establishment, then neither am I

October 12th, 2011
4:14 pm

When my baby shower was held at Olive Garden (years ago), no one (patrons nor employees) seemed to mind about the balloons, banners, games, etc., that my party’s table displayed. So, why the heck – of all things – would they get sh*tty at the U.S. flag being displayed? Ok, if they were dining in China….yeah…I’d understand why our flag couldn’t be displayed!

There are some things which should not be compromised.

Anyway, Olive Garden’s food tastes like “Lean Cuisine.”

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
4:15 pm

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
4:21 pm

I mean and hand me that straw.

liberalefty

October 12th, 2011
4:21 pm

are u moron patriots the same ones who now wont watch MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL because they wont use HWJ from now on? lol,

MK

October 12th, 2011
4:21 pm

Not to smart Olive Garden, obviously didn’t learn anything from the backlash at Walmart when the employees were told they could not wish customers a Merry Christmas…you’ll never get another dime from me or my family!

David

October 12th, 2011
4:21 pm

So next week they’ll want to bring Farm Animals into Olive Garden.
Go to the Oxford Civic Center and eat!

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
4:22 pm

I’m so high, I meant, shut up and hand me that straw……and that difibulator.

KenB

October 12th, 2011
4:23 pm

Shut up, “HILL-BILLY” MAYS!