Event space turns away campaign fundraiser for Vivek Ramaswamy

Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 7:47 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) -- A restaurant and event space backed out of a campaign event scheduled Wednesday night, a fundraiser for Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy.

Olive and Oak Events posted about the decision on Instagram, saying, “It has recently come to light that a contract for a private event would be a fundraiser here for a current political candidate. Our team did not fund, donate, or support this event, and it has since been canceled by our accord.”

The post also mentioned that Ramaswamy did not represent a balance of viewpoints.

Ramaswamy’s popularity among Republicans has risen following last week’s primary debates, though he has drawn sharp criticism for his lack of political experience, his far-right political stances, anti-trans rhetoric and repeating of conspiracy theories.

A flier had been circulated on social media advertising “An Evening with Vivek Ramaswamy,” at Olive and Oak on Wednesday night.

The owner of Olive and Oak told First Alert 4 that he would not comment beyond the social media post, however, staff at the restaurant said they had felt that the event had been misrepresented to them when the space was booked. Management had not realized the event would be a high-profile political campaign fundraiser.

After the flier began circulating the business had also received several calls questioning the event.

Later on Monday, First Alert 4 obtained a similar flier indicating that the Wednesday night fundraiser had been moved to an event space in downtown St. Louis.

On Tuesday, Olive and Oak provided more context to their decision in a thread on X, the social media site formally known as Twitter, saying that a contract was never executed.

“The event was described to us as a private, invite-only fundraiser, which was the premise on which we initially accepted. We subsequently discovered the event was being publicly promoted w/out our consent. Politically-focused, publicly-promoted events are difficult to manage,” the company wrote on X. “We decided to cancel in a attempt (clearly futile at this point) to avoid getting in the middle of politics. We understand there is no way to make everyone understand or support our decision but we proudly stand behind Olive+Oak’s eight year record of supporting our community.”

First Alert 4 reached out to the Ramaswamy campaign, as well as the email address and phone number listed on the flier, but did not receive a response.