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Petition Seeks to Rename Columbus, Ohio, ‘Flavortown’ to Honor America’s Sweetheart, Guy Fieri

Plus, Chick-fil-A’s CEO thinks the path to reparations for slavery is shining shoes, and other news to start the day

Guy Fieri pouring alcohol on a flame.
Guy Fieri is often referred to by fans as the “Mayor of Flavortown.”
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit

More than 45,000 people want to rename the city of Columbus after Guy Fieri

The Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus, Ohio, is already on its way out, but for some residents and thousands more people online, the removal of the Italian explorer’s likeness is not enough. There’s still the matter of the city’s name, a direct reference to a figure increasingly despised for his role in bringing European colonization and the ethnic cleansing of native peoples to these shores. The solution is simple, according to at least 45,000 petition signers: just change the name of the city of Columbus to “Flavortown,” in honor of native son Guy Fieri.

“Why not rename the city Flavortown? The new name is twofold. For one, it honors Central Ohio’s proud heritage as a culinary crossroads and one of the nation’s largest test markets for the food industry. Secondly, cheflebrity Guy Fieri was born in Columbus, so naming the city in honor of him (he’s such a good dude, really) would be superior to its current nomenclature,” the petition creator, Tyler Woodbridge, wrote in the campaign’s description.

The Food Network star’s “kind of optimism and charitable work embodies more of what Columbus, Ohio, is about rather than the tarnished legacy of Christopher Columbus,” Woodbridge, a Tennessee resident who spent seven years in Columbus, told CNN. But Woodbridge said he would also support renaming the city after an indigenous figure — anything for Columbus to no longer be named after its namesake.

In an update posted on the page this morning, Woodbridge wrote that he will be delivering the petition to the Columbus City Hall on June 30, with a planned stop to protest the Statue to Columbus, and an open invitation to others to join him. “Cover your face, wear your loudest Guy Fieri style clothing, carry signs, and project your voice,” he urged. “Let’s make a statement that day. Let’s show the anglocentric oligarchy that they made a mistake.”

And in other news…

  • Up to 10 percent of all restaurants globally, equal to about about 2.2 million restaurants, could close as the pandemic reshapes the world, industry consultants say. [Bloomberg News]
  • Chick-fil-A’s CEO Dan Cathy is facing criticism after he pulled out a shoe-shine brush and began to shine a Black musician’s shoes as a sign of repentance on stage during a panel. “[I]f we need to find somebody that needs to have their shoe shined, we need to just go right on over, and shine their shoes,” he said. [Footwear News]
  • Nestle is pulling, renaming, and redesigning its Beso de Negra line of Colombian confectionery. The name translates as “kiss from a Black woman,” and the packaging features a Black woman blowing a kiss. [Ad Age]
  • Also under review: the term “master” when paired with sommelier’s last name, e.g., “Master Fieri.” The Court of Master Sommeliers, America, a wine organization, said that it would stop its use of the word as a title for master sommeliers. [NYT]
  • Aisha “Pinky” Cole, the owner of Atlanta-based vegan food truck Slutty Vegan, has partnered with Clark Atlanta University to eventually send Rayshard Brooks’s four kids to college. Brooks, a Black man, was shot and killed by police officers near a Wendy’s in Atlanta on June 12, setting off a new wave of protests against police brutality in the city. [VegNews]

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