A Virginia group says it will publish a list of businesses that are accused of being "openly hostile" to supporters of President Donald Trump.
Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio owner Nicole Morgenthau told The Loudoun Times-Mirror that she was shocked on Thursday after receiving an email explaining that she had been ratted out as a Trump hater.
“Are you an anti-election establishment?” the email began. “We are compiling a list of local Leesburg businesses that are openly hostile to customers who voted for Donald Trump. Before we publish, we'd like to give the opportunity to refute tips we've received."
The letter concluded with a warning: "If we hear nothing, we will assume these comments are legitimate and will publish your information in an upcoming guide."
"My immediate reaction was a little bit of fear," Morgenthau recalled to the paper. “Immediately I thought, 'Oh my gosh, what's going to happen?' The business is like my fourth child.”
Out of concern for her business, Morgenthau decided to respond to the email, and she shared her reply to the group on Facebook.
"We are not and never have been hostile toward any human being who wishes to step foot in the front door of Finch. As a matter of fact, the very groundwork of Finch has always been to be a place of inclusiveness," she wrote. "We acknowledge and embrace that we have customers who come from a wide variety of political, racial, and religious backgrounds. Just as this diversity of beliefs occurs in many of our own families, the Finch family is a safe haven, a neutral space where any and all beliefs are sacred and anybody should feel welcome. All belong here."
Morgenthau said that she suspected that the sender of the email may have learned from reading Internet forums that Finch Knitting supported last weekend's Women's March, which featured hundreds of knitted pink "Pussy Hats" that drew the ire of conservatives.
“We carry yarn and we teach people to knit, but we didn't do an event specific for [the march]," Morgenthau said. "I take it very personally who comes in my door every day. I know people very well who voted on both sides. I hope both sets of people will find common ground.”
The reaction of Trump supporters is reminiscent of a 1933 Nazi Germany boycott of Jewish businesses as punishment for negative press coverage abroad.