Ellen’s, a popular Southern-style restaurant in Dallas’ West End welcomed the NRA to town for their convention by donating a portion of their proceeds to gun reform efforts. The NRA called Ellen’s out in a tweet and, unsurprisingly, all hell broke loose.
Attn @AnnualMeetings attendees. Steer clear of Ellen’s in downtown Dallas! Why go there when there are so many other great choices. 🤔#sorrynotsorry #StandAndFight #DefendTheSecond pic.twitter.com/joX7pPoPm4
— NRA (@NRA) May 5, 2018
While the tweet lacked the threatening tone the NRA likes to take toward its critics, it did lead to damaging Yelp reviews and, since it is the NRA, threats of violence — including a threat to stage a mass shooting at the restaurant.
“We’ve had people calling and say they’re going to shoot the place up, one that implied he would be burning us down today. Ridiculous people,” said Joe Groves, owner of Ellen’s.
But Groves wasn’t dissuaded or intimidated by the threats. During a special Mother’s Day event this weekend, he intends to present gun reform group Moms Demand Action with $15,000. He attributed some of that success to the NRA’s call for attention garnering him support.
“I put a significant amount of personal money into it, but the rest came from patrons of the restaurant as well as people calling us from South America, Asia, from countries all around the world.”
As for the blowback, while it was substantially more intense than he anticipated he dismissed the NRA as “pranksters.”
“As a prankster myself, I find some of what they’ve done to be hilarious,” he said. “They went on our website and filled up the on-line reservations so the restaurant appeared to be full. They’re making reservations like ‘Donald Trump, table for 4, near a window.’ Or under names like ‘Richard Glock.’ And they posted a Craigslist ad saying that Ellen’s is liquidating its kitchen, and the equipment is for sale. That is a very funny joke.”
To add another level of absurdity, Groves and Ellen’s were not calling for what they consider to be gun control, but reform. In a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page the restaurant makes clear it is for “reasonable and effective” policies and not against gun rights or the second amendment.
So was the NRA, once upon a time.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.