News

Replace Our Columbus Statue With Chef Boyardee, Petitioners Demand

"If Italian-Americans in Cleveland want to celebrate one of their own..."

David Tonelson/Shutterstock
Black Lives Matter. | David Tonelson/Shutterstock
Black Lives Matter. | David Tonelson/Shutterstock

Being a fourth-generation Italian American means a couple of things: 1) my mother guiltlessly served me canned ravioli when I was a kid and 2) my grandma only announced her kinship with Christopher Columbus when she heard folks in Cleveland are petitioning to have the statue replaced with Chef Boyardee. 

The petition, which currently has around 2,500 signatures, comes at a time when Columbus statues are being removed forcefully and officially all over the United States. This is also a golden age of petitions that modernize our idolatry to reflect the present day -- I'm talking especially about the petition to rename Columbus, Ohio in honor of Guy Fieri

New York's Governor Cuomo said during a briefing June 11 that we need to keep the Columbus statue up to recognize the "Italian-American contribution to New York," and critics of statue removal have expressed similar sentiments. In response, the petitioners have raised Ettore (Hector) Boiardi -- aka Chef Boyardee as a perfect replacement. 

"Born in Piacenza, Ettore immigrated to the US at age 16 in 1914," the petition says. "He eventually moved to Cleveland, where he opened a restaurant, Il Giardino d'Italia, that was so popular people asked him to bottle his sauce for them."

The petition's history lesson continued for another paragraph and included Boyardee's canned food contribution to soldiers during World War II, which earned him a Gold Star. 

"It's time for Cleveland to remove its statue to a genocidal sociopath with a bowl cut," the petition concludes, "and erect a statue to an immigrant success story who enriched our community with his food and iconic mustache." 

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Ruby Anderson is a News Writer at Thrillist. Send your tips to randerson@thrillist.com.