By Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times –
LOS ANGELES — A gay artist who said he painted graffiti on the wall of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Torrance, Calif., said he did not mean it as an act of hate.
“My statement painted on the side of the Chick-fil-A in Torrance was not born out of hate,” artist Manny Castro said in a statement to Huffington Post. “It was born out of frustration. It was meant to further a discussion about tolerance and acceptance.”
The incident was part of a controversy surrounding the fast-food restaurant and its chief executive’s recent comments against gay marriage.
“Tastes Like Hate” was painted on the side of the Torrance restaurant Thursday night, the eve of “National Same-Sex Kiss Day,” where couples were asked to take photos of themselves kissing at Chick-fil-A restaurants to show support for gay rights.
Torrance police Sgt. Steve Jenkinson said detectives were aware that Castro had taken credit for the graffiti but said no arrests had been made.
“Our investigators are still working the information that they have,” Jenkinson said Monday. “We’re still actively investigating.”
Patrols were stepped up near the city’s Chick-fil-A locations following the vandalism, Jenkinson added, but no other restaurants have reported problems.
The vandalism came during a week of demonstrations at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide. Huge crowds turned out Wednesday for “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” to support company President Dan Cathy, who recently expressed his opposition to gay marriage in an interview.
“Everybody is entitled to free speech, but it seems like for the gay tribe, this is more of an issue of equal rights — human rights,” Castro told the Huffington Post on Friday. “I’m against what these people stand for, what this company stands for. They’re trying to take away what little rights we already have.”