Amid a hectic few days that included scathing criticism of its canopies from the president of the United States, the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va., received help from across the country. Phoenix attorney Jimmy Cool says he decided to start a fundraiser when the restaurant was inundated with bad Yelp reviews over its refusal to serve Sarah Sanders, the Arizona Republic reports. "I worried these attacks would cause irreparable harm to the business simply for exercising its owner's First Amendment rights," says Cool, whose friend, fellow Arizonan attorney Sean Carter, helped spread the word about the GoFundMe fundraiser to reward the owner's "courage in the face of immoral tyranny."
The men closed the fundraiser down after it raised $900 more than its $5,000 target. In a Facebook post, Carter thanked supporters and provided a link to other Red Hen fundraisers, one of which has raised $8,000. He says they haven't been able to contact Red Hen owner Stephanie Wilkinson to arrange a transfer of funds yet. Cool says he has "received multiple threats of violence and an unrelenting stream of harassment on social media" since starting the fundraiser—and he isn't surprised. Other restaurants with the name Red Hen have also been targets for abuse online, including the Olde Red Hen in Collingwood, Ontario, which is 650 miles and one international border away from the Virginia eatery, the CBC reports. (A protester left chicken manure outside the Virginia restaurant Tuesday.)