Blackburn thanks restaurant owner for hosting event after social media backlash

Blackburn thanks restaurant owner for hosting event after social media backlash
© Greg Nash

Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnOn The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump Hillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity MORE (R-Tenn.) thanked the owner of a Tennessee restaurant on Thursday for hosting a campaign event for her after the owner received death threats and insults for letting Blackburn rent an event room at his establishment.

"The radical Left is out of control, and their angry mob is right here in Tennessee," Blackburn tweeted alongside an article from local paper, The Wilson Post, describing the backlash restaurant owner Tom Courtney and his staff have received.

"Tom, we appreciate your opening your restaurant up to us, and we hope you are treated with the same respect as you treat your customers," she wrote.

Courtney told the Post that his life has been threatened over his decision and his staff had been verbally accosted, though he said that he has not filed a police report over the threats.

“Right to free speech and everything," he said. "I don’t need to expose the idiots who are keyboard crazy and damage a small local business. The ghosts behind their posts. It will blow over. I’m just blown away though.”

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Courtney told the paper that he had been called Nazi and an abuser by some people online, adding that such comments had hurt his business, staff and family.

“I was called a Nazi sympathizer of all things,” he told the Post. “It’s hurt my business, my staff, me and my family," he said. "I’ve never seen grown people, or whoever is hidden behind the screens, act in such a manner. I have partners.”

Hundreds of online posters have said they will boycott the restaurant for Courtney's decision, the paper reported.

“People have posted they love our food, but will no longer come to the restaurant,” Courtney said. “I have never in my life experienced such a thing. It’s scary.”

Blackburn is in a heated race for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee against Democratic challenger Phil Bredesen. 

Vanderbilt University poll released Thursday showed Bredesen leading Blackburn by 1 percentage point, 44-43, which falls within the poll's margin of error. A RealClearPolitics average of polling shows Blackburn up by an average of 6.5 percentage points.