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article imageFried Chicken Places Slapped For Using Pres Obama's Name

By Joan Firstenberg     Apr 3, 2009 in Business
It isn't a question of liking or disliking the new President. But using President Barack Obama's name to sell fried chicken is something that just should not be done.
Two New York City fried chicken restaurants are under fire for putting President Barack Obama's name on their signs. Councilman Charles Barron said Friday he is organizing a demonstration next week outside Obama Fried Chicken in his Brooklyn district. Organizers said they also may target Obama Fried Chicken & Pizza in Harlem. Barron calls using Obama's name to sell fried chicken, an outrage.
"People from the community were calling me and saying they were outraged by this racist connection to Barack Obama and fried chicken. If you think that free speech gives you the right to insult and degrade us and stereotype us, then you've got a battle on your hands."
Now, there could be a sticky issue because at the Obama Fried Chicken & Pizza joint in Harlem, the "O" and the "A" have been filled in so that the awning sign just really reads, "Bam" instead of the president's name. But employees there were still answering the phone by saying, "Obama's".
At Obama Fried Chicken in Brooklyn, the person who answered the phone said the owner could not be reached.
Kevin McCall, a community activist who has been working with Barron to organize the protest, says he spoke with the owner of Obama Fried Chicken, which was Royal Fried Chicken until very recently.
The White House was not commenting directly on the matter, but a spokesman, Ben LaBolt said the administration disapproves of using
"the president's name and likeness for commercial purposes."
The restaurant controversy is not the first dispute about the first black president's name being linked to a chicken product.
In Germany recently a food maker was criticized for naming a line of frozen fried chicken snacks "Obama Fingers." Luckily, the product was available only in Germany and was pulled after the company said it became aware of the racial connotation.
Also, Germany's N24 television reported this week that one Baden-Baden bakery was celebrating the U.S. president's arrival there with a dark-chocolate "Obama cake." The cake was decorated with miniature NATO flags.
Obama traveled to the German spa town Friday with his wife, Michelle, where he met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the NATO summit.
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