Police state that 30-year-old Manuel Castro was taken into custody last Wednesday in West Hollywood, California after investigating graffiti that was painted on the site of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Torrence on August 3rd. The words “Tastes Like Hate” were sprawled across the side of the building, along with a drawing of a cow holding a paintbrush.
The graffiti was painted over the same day as if nothing ever happened.
“It’s disappointing, but we’re going to take the high road and find the positive in this,” owner Cole Donahoo told local television station KTLA. “We serve all guests equally and provide them a remarkable experience any day, all day, every day.”
The graphic artist says that he has no regrets about defacing the building, and denies that his actions were wrongful.
“I am a proud Christian and I wholly subscribe to the verse: ‘Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone,'” he wrote in a statement to the Huffington Post. “I didn’t use violence. I used paint. Artists for centuries have expressed their opinions through this medium and I am no different. … I am happy to pay for the costs of repainting the wall, but I am not — nor will I ever be — happy to sit quietly at the back of the bus.”
Castro was released on $20,000 bond. If prosecuted on the most serious count and convicted, he could face felony vandalism charges, which could put him in jail for one year and cost him $10,000 in fines.
Police state that they are looking for a possible second suspect that acted in conjunction with the graphic artist.
While opinions are mixed, a number of homosexual advocates are supportive of Castro.
“Regardless of the punishment, this brave artist should be very proud of himself!” wrote one commenter. “I’m glad that Mr. Castro acted on what he believes in! I tip my hat to you, Manny!” wrote another.
However, police across the country are making clear that they will not tolerate this type of behavior. Law enforcement officials investigated a matter the same day in Des Peres, Missouri after a vandal painted the words “don’t hate” on the side of a local Chick-fil-A. Police are also looking into a situation in Frederick, Maryland, where individuals affixed homosexual flag and same-sex marriage stickers on the windows of the fast food restaurant. Homemade signs in favor of homosexuality were also found on the scene. No suspects have been named at this point in either incident.
Homosexuals have been expressing outrage against the popular restaurant chain due to remarks made by its president, Dan Cathy, who stated that he is “very much supporting of the family — the Biblical definition of the family unit.” However, Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, which was observed by well over half a million supporters nationwide, made history by breaking sales figures for income generated by a restaurant in a single day.