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Susan DeRose, co-owner of Liberty House, the restaurant group behind OK Cafe, on Saturday sent an email to the company’s subscribers stating that both she and her husband Richard are “under police protection and OK Café is being monitored by Homeland Security.”
The email, which is published in its entirety below, arrives nearly two weeks after DeRose hung a banner at OK Cafe amid Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests spurred by the in-police-custody-death of George Floyd that stated, “Lives That Matter Are Made With Positive Purpose.”
DeRose’s cryptic banner was met with swift backlash including an open letter penned by Kilpatrick Townsend’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer pleading with Atlantans to boycott Liberty House.
OK Cafe wasn’t the only Liberty House eatery with such a banner.
Nearby Blue Ridge Grill adorned a banner that stated, “Law & Order = Peace,” a message that has been tweeted multiple times by President Donald Trump in rebuke of otherwise peaceful BLM protests.
“The Department is not providing [DeRose] anything,” a spokesperson for the APD Saturday told What Now Atlanta (WNA) in an email.
“It is possible she is paying an off duty officer. Many businesses do.”
The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security on Saturday did not immediately respond to WNA’s request for comment.
It seems that we have found our company in an unusual—and perhaps dangerous—situation. Richard & I have been under police protection and OK Café is being monitored by Homeland Security.
Wow! How did it get to this?
For those who know us, you’ll know that we are not here just to make money. For 41 years we’ve served up Southern hospitality and helped showcase and identify our Southern culture. Our aim was—and is—to make Atlanta a world-class city. Liberty House is part of the fabric of Atlanta.
Since we’ve never been attacked before, I’d like to make our position clear:
On June 7th, a few days after the destructive riots in our city center and throughout Buckhead, some people felt it right to organize a march down West Paces Ferry Road to “bring the people of Buckhead out from behind their screens” (the Marcher’s cry).
By June 7th, OK Café and Blue Ridge Grill had only reopened 4 days before and like all others in the shopping center, we weighed the dangers of looting or harm to our staff and customers, so we closed again. The marchers took over our parking lot anyways, so no customers could have parked. The marchers were mostly peaceful—that day.
For our part, we put up two signs at OK Café and served tea. As is our 1st amendment right to do. The banner read: “Lives that Matter Are Made with Positive Purpose.”
Blue Ridge Grill had a tent and served lemonade. Their sign read: “Law & Order = Peace,” and Marvin Gaye’s lyrics, “Picket lines and picket signs, don’t punish me with brutality, talk to me, so you can see, what’s going on.”
And lastly, a red, white, and blue sign draped the front of OK Café on Northside Parkway.
Loud and proud it read: “OK Café LOVES America.”
Since then we have received hundreds of negative reviews online. We have been told, kneel, or go out of business.
If loving America is wrong—I don’t wanna be right. And our great and mighty team stands with us on this point.
Liberty House Restaurant Corp.
Here’s our full coverage of OK Cafe’s banner situation in chronological order:
- OK Cafe Hangs Cryptic ‘Lives That Matter’ Banner Amid Black Lives Matter Movement
- OK Cafe Co-Owner Responds To Cryptic ‘Lives That Matter’ Banner, Addresses Georgia Flag Art
- OK Cafe Owner Removes Georgia Flag With Rebel Emblem In Total Reversal
- Kilpatrick Townsend’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Pens Open Letter To OK Cafe Owner