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‘Flavortown:’ Thousands sign petition to rename Columbus, Ohio, after Guy Fieri’s fictional food utopia

COLUMBUS, Ohio — We can picture it now: Guy Fieri will be appointed mayor in a ceremony presided over by Matthew McConaughey, in front of a large municipal fountain overflowing with nacho cheese.

The petition, started by Tyler Woodbridge, comes amid backlash to the city’s public statues of Christopher Columbus, which Mayor Andrew J. Ginther recently described as a representation of “our ugly past.” Across the country, other statues of Christopher Columbus have been torn down, defaced or removed in response to growing criticism over Columbus’ legacy in the Americas.

“Columbus is an amazing city, but one whose name is tarnished by the very name itself,” argues Woodbridge in his petition. “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.”

Woodbridge proposed “Flavortown” as a replacement, he says, for two reasons: “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 admitted, however, that he wasn’t aware of the next steps in actually bringing the petition to the town council. For now, he just intends to “get the ball rolling on a more flavorful tomorrow.”

The petition was started amid other calls to remove monuments, logos and brand names with problematic histories and racist connotations following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in police custody. Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther had also recently announced that a statue of Columbus outside of Columbus City Hall would be removed in favor of “diversity and inclusion.”

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