Leesburg Business Responds to Political Blacklist Threat

A downtown Leesburg business received an unusual email Thursday morning, and has publicized a response to the sender who threatened to put them on a political blacklist.

The owner of Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio, Nicole Morgenthau, published the email she received on the business’ Facebook page. The email, with the subject line “Are you an anti-election establishment?”, says a list is being compiled of Leesburg businesses “that are openly hostile to customers who voted for Donald Trump.”

It asks the business owner to refute “tips” that had allegedly been received that she had published several Facebook posts that were hostile toward the election of the new president. If she declined to comment, the email continued, “we will assume these comments are legitimate and publish your information in an upcoming guide.”

Reached this afternoon, Morgenthau said she was “shocked” when she read the email.

“It’s not something that makes any kind of sense based on what we do at Finch,” she said.

Morgenthau added that her personal Facebook page is also free of tirades against the president or his election.

The email was signed by Michelle Madigan and did not identify a specific organization. When Morgenthau responded to the email asking what social media posts they were referring to, she received a response that said they were given tips from people on a listserv that said there had been “multiple tirades against the president” posted on social media by the business. That email said they had not personally seen the posts, but would “ask for screenshots.” That email was signed by Kelly Shaw, Morgenthau said.

Morgenthau added that one of the emails she received included a link to a story about a Tennessee knitting shop where the business owner refused to sell pink yarn to those participating in the recent Women’s March.

As to who may have sent the emails, or what the impetus for them was, Morgenthau said she has no idea. “I have no known enemies,” she joked.

Loudoun Now has not confirmed the identities of Michelle Madigan or Kelly Shaw. An email sent to the address used to send the threat to Morgenthau has not been returned.

Morgenthau shared the initial email she received with members of the Leesburg Downtown Business Association, but said, so far, it seems she is the only one who has received such an email.

She has used the opportunity to “reiterate what we stand for.”     In a post shared on the business’ Facebook page, she shared her response to the first email she received:

“Hello Michelle, 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. 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.”


6 thoughts on “Leesburg Business Responds to Political Blacklist Threat

  • 2017-01-26 at 5:45 pm

    This is not news. Someone gets a spam email, takes it literally, responds, then notifies the local media that she is shocked. Give me a break on this one. Her response should have been to ignore the spam and move on.

    Wait till the King of Nigeria sends her an email 🙂

    • 2017-01-26 at 9:07 pm

      Agree. This should have totally been ignored. And now it is gaining credence with people who are going to jump at every nasty little thing we see. There’s probably a bunch buying the Brooklyn Bridge even as we speak. 🙁

  • 2017-01-27 at 1:04 pm

    “The King of Nigeria” Awesome comment.

    The Editor was obviously out of the office to let this one slip by.

  • 2017-01-27 at 3:59 pm

    This wasn’t SPAM. SPAM emails try to get you to send them money. This was an attempt at political intimidation. It was an attempt to silence those who have a different viewpoint. Kind of like these other comments. Since the threatening email specifically mentioned Leesburg, and Nicole got a response to her inquiry, it sounds like someone local. That someone local is putting together a politically motivated blackball list of local businesses may not be front page news, but it is news, in my opinion.

  • 2017-01-29 at 7:41 am

    My thoughts aren’t quite so clear on this, but I do know many things on local businesses, and their many ties to our local government, so I’ve created my own blacklist as they are corruptably intertwined by their dealings (i.e. the only new, very expensive sidewalk project in the history of Leesburg was reconstructed in the front of businessman Michael O’Connor’s Restaurant/stores) as he is a major Democratic donor and hosts parties for the likes of his friends like Mayor Kelly Burk. Kelly and Gwen Pangle had been marketing the sidewalk project for years with the ex-mayor Kristen, who is also a dear friend of Michael, who is also the Owner of Palio’s. Kelly, Gwen, Kristen and many others know the history as I could start a walking tour of all the local businesses and tell you how each is heavily affiliated with old school Liberal minded $$$$ and how they spread in around like water on a lawn on a how summer morning. It was readily apparent as the openly flaunted, at several downtown venues and special meetings, with the high profile celebrity appearances and their invitation only A Listers such as Gwen, Kelly and Kristen, before jumping off the cliff in the general election. I opt not to frequent any establishment, even if invited as a guest, that has anything to do Mr. O’Connor’s.

  • 2017-01-29 at 5:57 pm

    Actually, LoudounClear, it is democrat politicians who love political blackball. To Wit: Their oh so recent big push to strip the constitutional rights of people who unknowingly ended up on their super duper secret “No Fly List,” and with no Due Process protections. Remember?

    Where is this “political list?” Who’s making it? In which paper will it be posted? You don’t know, do you? Likely because it’s a hoax/fake post/scam/whatever. It also brings up the rather uncomfortable question of: Who actually believes anything posted on facebook?

    Whoever, (if there is a who) needs to add my name to their dopey little political list. We should all demand to be added. R or D, or other, it matters not. If everyone is on the list, then it has no meaning. This is how you deal with list makers: Confront or ignore them. Either course, the bullies fade away.

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