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


October 13th, 2011
12:47 pm

I once was refused entry to a club for having “writing” on my T-shirt (Non offensive). But hey, their restaurant, their rules. so I just dont go there anymore. I’m all for toting a giant American flag around but when it time to go eat, I leave it in the car or at home. I prefer spanish food so I visit spanish restaurants for the spanish music, decor, etc.. if I want to see a giant American Flag while I eat, I’ll go to a Texas steakhouse or Johnny Rockets or something.


October 13th, 2011
12:51 pm

Why are people always complaining about things when the don’t get there way.Olive Garden has the right to say no if they want, to without apologizing for it. This is America.

jerry koff

October 13th, 2011
12:56 pm

hey paocgirl, do we still have the freedom not to display the flag?

jerry koff

October 13th, 2011
1:02 pm

i also have the right not to care about kiwanis or old ladies opinions.

Dee C

October 13th, 2011
1:31 pm

any proud American. That is who does it. There is definately a generation gap, as well as an educational gap.


October 13th, 2011
1:42 pm

the management is at fault,the woman booked the banquet ,every aspect of the banquet should have been gone over .the rest. did not perform up to standards of their meeting so she should get her money back. I can tell alot of you have not served your country because you do not have the respect for the American Flag as us vets

Ade Ogunjobi

October 13th, 2011
1:43 pm

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.


October 13th, 2011
1:43 pm

The food sucks! Olive Garden should be Honored people eat there. When your here your family? BS!


October 13th, 2011
1:45 pm

The group set up with Olive Garden a banquet, which ment OG set up and area for them to use. If they want a flag and banner they have aranged to use it is up to the group. Every restaurant that has large groups allows them leaway in what they can bring in. Don’t make more of a big deal out of this then needs to be; fire the idiot manager and get on with business.

Barbara Mims

October 13th, 2011
1:46 pm

For those of you that don’t like the AMERICAN flag and the way it looks, why don’t you pick out the country with your favorite one and move there. That way you want have to look at it anymore. But for those of us that feel as if ‘OLD GLORY’ is being put in the closet to keep from a fending other flags, you have to remember a lot of those flags came together at a very important time in history to create IT!
I think OG did have the right, but I also believe they should have said ‘NO PROBLEM’ it is the AMERICAN flag after all!

Abe Froemann

October 13th, 2011
1:48 pm

So, the local Kiwanis chapter just walked in and put up their banners and the American Flag?
I presume they had a scheduled meeting there, probably paid to do so. Perhaps it was the
first time they did so and didn’t get the details straight with the employees. maybe it came
down to a disagreement between a member or members and an employee (or employees)
who then “hung their hat” on their company rules to solidify their position.
Seems as though there are details missing that could clarify what happened. Because as is
evident among these comments a lot of people have strong feelings about the Flag.
I mean I couldn’t support a Constitutional Amendment to outlaw Flag burning. But I’d just
as soon crack a flag burner in the shin with a baseball bat as hard as I could swing it.


October 13th, 2011
1:50 pm

I Poop Is that a promise that you will leave when the country is invaded by parasites? Well Bucko you better start packing, the parasites have arrived they are called illegal aliens! I am appalled by attitudes like yours who seem to be critical of anything and everything. Maybe it is time for you to get a life.

william s todd

October 13th, 2011
1:53 pm

all it is is it happened in alabama. if it happened in say indiannopolis everybody would be rounding up the lynch mobs.


October 13th, 2011
1:55 pm

Not true Mr Todd I live in Indy and we are civilized here.