Tens of thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for renaming the city of Columbus, Ohio, to “Flavortown,” in order to erase any links to Christopher Columbus and instead honor hometown hero chef Guy Fieri.
CNN noted that “Fieri’s use of [Flavortown] on his various shows on The Food Network has become his signature catchphrase.”
What are the details?
The petition was launched last week on Change.org by Tyler Woodbridge, who argues:
Columbus is an amazing city, but one whose name is tarnished by the very name itself. Its namesake, Christopher Columbus, is in The Bad Place because of all his raping, slave trading, and genocide. That’s not exactly a proud legacy.
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.
Woodbridge, who grew up in Columbus but doesn’t live there now, praised Fieri’s charitable work.
“That kind of optimism and charitable work embodies more of what Columbus, Ohio, is about rather than the tarnished legacy of Christopher Columbus,” Woodbridge said.
As of Monday evening, nearly 35,000 people had signed on to Woodbridge’s initiative, after Bud Light gave the effort a boost by promising on Twitter, “Bud Light Seltzer for all of Flavortown if this happens.”
WCMH-TV reported that on Thursday, Columbus “Mayor Andrew Ginther (D) ordered the Christopher Columbus statue in front of City Hall to be removed and placed in storage.”
No word yet on whether the city council will take up the initiative to rename the city. Fieri hasn’t publicly commented on the petition yet.
Monikers and statues honoring Christopher Columbus have become a major target of activists in recent weeks, along with tributes to Confederate officers and even many of America’s Founding Fathers — including George Washington — as one major effort that has evolved out of the George Floyd protest.
There have been growing calls for institutions named after slave owners to be rename, and for statues of historic figures such as conquistadors to be destroyed.