Conservative Christian caught on CCTV flinging dead rat into gay couple’s restaurant

Residents drink on the balcony of a restaurant as the sun goes down, while a Pride and US flag wave.

A Virginia Christian couple were caught throwing a dead rat into a gay couple’s restaurant following years of homophobic disputes.

CCTV footage captured near The Front Porch restaurant in The Plains, Virginia showed conservative Christian Mike Washer throw a dead rodent at the front of the building in August last year

Mike and Melissa Washer, who own ICS Financial directly next to The Front Porch, had reportedly been feuding with their neighbours William Waybourn and Craig Spaulding since at least 2019 over shared car parking spaces, early morning deliveries, bins and zoning permits.

An employee of the Virginia eatery told The Washington Post that Mike Washer had previously told them “I like you, but the f****ts you work for, I can’t stand,” while calling for a tow truck to remove a customer’s car from a parking space.

The Front Porch has flown a Pride flag on its patio since 2016, the year that a gunman killed 49 people in the Pulse nightclub shooting.

The Washers, both in their early 50s, have also posted pictures of themselves outside of the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 – the day of the far-right insurrection that resulted in a number of deaths – and have a sign on their property that reads: “Only Jesus can save America.”

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Things allegedly became tense between the two couples after Waybourn and Spaulding, both 76, handed the Washers a no-trespassing order after Mike entered the establishment multiple times without wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A local resident who was waiting for food at The Front Porch alleged that after she offered a mask to Mike upon him entering without one, he “came flying after me” the next day and began yelling at her that no one could tell him what to do.

Since then, relations between the couples became increasingly strained. The Washers have attempted to remove customers from their own parking spots, issued their own no-trespass order, and complained to the health department about the restaurant. The health inspector who subsequently visited The Front Porch reportedly found no issues.

In August of 2022, Mike Washer can be seen on CCTV flinging the rat onto restaurant property and taking photos of it. Tiffany Foster, the general manager of The Front Porch, told The Washington Post that she believes it was a staged effort to make it appear as if the eatery had a vermin problem.

Foster said she thought at the time: “I cannot believe that someone would stoop so low to try to put someone out of business.”

Neither Mike nor Melissa Washer deny Mike’s actions, but they claim the rat was first dumped near their back door by restaurant employees, and Mike was returning it.

Mike Washer told The Post that he believed he was being discriminated against for being a conservative, saying his wife and him were “subjected” to “special-use permits” which he claimed allowed the town council to “accommodate whatever they want”.

Things became deeply personal after allegations that Mike Washer called the couple homophobic slurs – which he denies.

Fighting back tears, Waybourn said: “I haven’t been called a f****t in years.”

He recalled his and Spaulding’s history of being subjected to homophobic discrimination after beginning their relationship in 1973, saying: “I had so many threats against me that even the Dallas police stationed squad cards outside our home.”

“This is hard for me,” Waybourn said, “because I don’t know what I’m fighting for.”

Melissa Washer also spoke to The Post, saying that to her, “this is not political”.

“There is no politics in this. There is no race. There is no sexual orientation,” she said. “We like that this town is a mixture of all different kinds of people. We do.

“We just coexist. That’s their lane, and this is our lane.”

Waybourn and Spaulding have reportedly put their restaurant up for sale due to the incident involving the dead rodent.

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