Bada Bing! Pizzeria caused an uproar on Facebook last week when General Manager Jason Hague uploaded a picture of a rainbow flag that the Urbana Area PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) left for the pizzeria. As of the writing of this article, the photo has received nearly a hundred comments from Facebook users, with mixed opinions on the restaurant and the LGBTQA.
The photo was accompanied by the caption: “A customer dined with us last night and gave this small flag to me. It really got me thinking. Bada Bing is one of the most diverse workplaces I’ve ever been in. We love our employees and customers.”
The photo received both support and negative commentary for the restaurant and the LGBTQA community. Support included Facebook user Barbara Perenic’s, “…Food was meant to bring us together, just like love. Bada Bing, you are good people…”; and Sierra Boyd’s “Keep calm and eat pizza? Lol. Seriously this post was clearly just to show that these ppl are grateful for their customers and the interesting mix of ppl that go there….”
Comments from Facebook users who did not support this post included Zack Hixon’s, “I dont have any problem with gay people i just wish theyd stop with the promoting…”; and Carissa N Dave Dalton’s, “…I do not hate people gay or not. The Bible says its a sin & that’s why I have a problem with it….funny how everyone else can make comments & its freedom of speech but Christians make comments & we are hating others.”
Hague said he did not intend for his post to go viral.
“A PFLAG branch came in to dine…and left a flag with us,” Hague said. “I didn’t get the chance to thank them. [I posted the picture because] I just wanted to say thank you. I didn’t mention anything [about the LGBTQA community]….we just support diversity in all shapes, forms and sizes.”
Hague said that most of the Facebook posts were positive. However, he said some people “took this way out of context,” as he didn’t intend to “cause a stir.”
“All we’re doing is supporting diversity,” he said. “Everyone took it as a gay pride thing [which was not my intention].”
A local church pastor – who Hague would not name for privacy reasons – contacted the general manager and told him he would no longer be dining there. Hague said he and his employees have received a few other comments along these lines, but business is still going.
On Wittenberg’s campus, rumors have spread that it could have been the pastor of the Vineyard Church of Northridge. However, the church’s front man, Senior Pastor Neil Haney, wanted to clear the air and let it be known that he is not boycotting the restaurant.
“There is no issue,” Haney said. “I personally love Bada Bing’s pizza and will continue to eat there. They have one of the best tasting pizzas in town in my opinion!”
Hague said that with this incident, he’s sure that he has both lost former customers and gained new ones. Bada Bing! plans to further its market by adding another restaurant near Wittenberg’s campus on N. Fountain Ave., right next to Ruby’s.