Red Mill Burgers owner apologizes, steps down after ‘offensive’ online posts

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SEATTLE -- Nearly two weeks after a vote failed to move forward the Seattle’s sports arena, the Seattle city councilwomen who voted against it are still receiving backlash from angry fans.

The fallout included a series of threats and comments made against the women, and the owner of Red Mill Burgers has now stepped into the fallout and is apologizing for it.

Seattle City Council’s President Bruce Harrell is speaking out against the threats and standing by his female colleagues.

“Don’t attack their motives, don’t attack their ability because these are extremely capable council members,” said Harrell of his female counterparts.

The five members of the council who voted against vacating part of a Seattle Street for a proposed sports arena have been bombarded with misogynistic threats including sexual and physical violence.

“We saw the worst come out in people, and there is just no excuse for that,” said Harrell.

The women wrote an op-ed in the Seattle Times, explaining how they were surprised at how the vote became a woman versus man issue. The four votes for the arena were from the men.

The owner of Red Mill Burgers is involved in this fallout.  John Shepherd posted a comment on Facebook indicating he hated all the (expletive) on the Seattle City Council.

“These were intentional comments, so I’ll accept any apology but I don’t think that really addresses or excuses the conduct,” said Harrell.

Shepherd posted an apology on his restaurant’s Facebook page stating:

“While I am not sorry about my disapproval around our city’s leadership, I am horribly sorry for the ways I voiced that disapproval. I have absolutely no excuse for my use of offensive language. It was wrong by any standard. I apologize for my comments and am reaching out to those i’ve personally offended to offer my regrets directly,” said Shepherd in the statement.

Shepherd’s customers are taking a stand.

“We won’t be going back,” said Tammy Morales, who used to eat at the restaurant with her family. Morales said the apology isn’t enough.

“It’s disappointing that the first place people go is to be misogynistic,” said Morales. “I understand anger, and I understand if you object to a council decision but you don’t have the right to spew threats and hatred to council members.”

Council members who are proving to stick together, despite how they voted on community issues.

“These are some very capable women, so I think they’re going to be ok but I have talked to many of them and the male members we have their back,” said Harrell.

Mike O’Brien sent Q13 News this statement regarding the attack on his female colleagues.

"I have enormous respect for my colleagues on Council, and am shocked and saddened by the misogyny, threats, and hateful language they have faced in the last few days. This is an important moment for all of us to reflect on how we can combat the gender biases that have led us to this point, and I will continue to support the leadership my colleagues have already demonstrated in this matter."