- More than 26,000 people have signed a petition to rename Columbus, Ohio, “Flavortown.”
- The new name would honour the celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri, who was born in Columbus.
- The petition comes after the city’s mayor announced the removal of a Christopher Columbus statue.
- The historical figure has been widely associated with extreme cruelty toward Indigenous people.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Food Network star Guy Fieri has long been a yellow-headed hero to his native Columbus, Ohio.
Now, with the removal of a statue honouring the city’s eponym, thousands of people have signed a petition to rename the city “Flavortown.”
As of Monday morning, 26,850 people had signed the petition.
“The new name is twofold. For one, it honours Central Ohio’s proud heritage as a culinary crossroads and one of the nation’s largest test markets for the food industry,” the petition’s creator,Tyler Woodbridge, wrote on Change.org. “Secondly, cheflebrity Guy Fieri was born in Columbus, so naming the city in honour of him (he’s such a good dude, really) would be superior to its current nomenclature.”
Mayor Andrew Ginther announced last week that the Christopher Columbus statue outside City Hall would be removed and placed in storage. As the national conversation around racism continues, Columbus statues have been removed or vandalised as the historical figure has been increasingly associated with cruelty inflicted on Indigenous people.
Woodbridge, who lived in Columbus for seven years, told CNN that the statue’s removal didn’t go far enough.
“Even though it’s my favourite city, I was always a bit ashamed of the name,” Woodbridge told CNN.
The name Flavortown would honour Fieri’s catchphrase on various Food Network shows and the foodie city’s many different cultures and cuisines.
Woodbridge described Fieri as a “charitable man,” noting that he helped raise more than $US20 million for restaurant workers during the pandemic and has officiated more than 100 LGBTQ weddings.
“That kind of optimism and charitable work embodies more of what Columbus, Ohio, is about rather than the tarnished legacy of Christopher Columbus,” Woodbridge told CNN.
Woodbridge, who lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, plans to drive back to Columbus to deliver the petition to city officials, according to CNN.
An attempt to reach Fieri for comment was not immediately successful.
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