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Homophobia Rears Its Head at Chili Cook-Off at California County Fair

Homophobia Rears Its Head at Chili Cook-Off at California County Fair

Carnival ride and chili

Someone harassed a gay couple in the competition with homophobic slurs and ran a vehicle over their supplies.

Competitors at a chili cook-off in Northern California say they were subjected to homophobic slurs at the event and that someone drove a vehicle over their goods.

Thomas and Cody Nicholson Stratton, a married same-sex couple who own a farm called the Foggy Bottoms Boys, were competing in the cook-off at the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale, according to the Times-Standard, a newspaper in nearby Eureka.

They heard antigay comments from another attendee all day, such as “Oh, that’s so gay. You should be over there. With the F-ggy Bottoms Boys,” Thomas Nicholson Stratton told the paper. He did not identify the source.

“As I was going to get our vehicle to pack up our items, we had that person that was doing hateful comments run over some of our ingredients and then back over them again,” damaging the supplies and a piece of equipment, he said. he continued. “Our employees were literally a foot away sitting on coolers and chairs,” he noted.

Other people on the commenter’s team kept trying to intervene and did not join in the homophobic actions, he added.

Although Nicholson Stratton did not name the person or team involved, an area business, the LoCo Fish Co., apologized via a comment on the Foggy Bottoms Boys’ Instagram post about the incident.

“I’m extremely sorry for our actions,” LoCo wrote. “We are NOT anti-LGBTQ in any shape or form.” The Times-Standard sought comment from the business but did not receive a response.

LoCo’s station at the cook-off was staffed by co-owner Jayme Knight and other staff members and was located next to that of the Foggy Bottoms Boys. Ferndale police arrested Knight Thursday evening for driving under the influence and held him at the county jail for several hours, according to jail records. The Times-Standard was unable to obtain further information from the police department by its deadline.

Nicholson Stratton said only that police and officials with the fair were helpful, and the fair's organizers arranged for reimbursement for any losses. The Foggy Bottoms Boys’ Instagram post drew many supportive responses. “I am sorry to hear this upsetting information,” one commenter wrote. Thank you for speaking up and addressing the issue. Ya’ll are the definition of commUNITY, and it looks like most of us know this! Sending all our unconditional love and respect your way.”

Another said, “Keep standing strong and proud and shining bright! Hate will not be tolerated in our community!!! I’m really glad you shared this experience with all of us.”

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