A downtown Knoxville restaurant owner says she was taking a stand for the gay community when she asked State Senator Stacey Campfield to leave her restaurant.
Campfield is under fire for comments he made last week on a Sirius XM radio program. On the Michelangelo Signorile Show, the Knoxville senator said that the HIV epidemic came from a single gay airline employee having sexual relations with a monkey and that it is "virtually impossible" for AIDS to be transmitted during heterosexual sex. Experts say both of those claims are false.
On Sunday, Campfield was asked to leave the Bistro at the Bijou restaurant on Gay Street.
"I asked him to leave the restaurant to take a stand for the gay community and to let him know what it feels like to be discriminated against," said Martha Boggs, the restaurant's owner.
Boggs told 10News she didn't do it for publicity, but she's getting a lot of support on social media. She says a number of customers have come in and thanked her for what she did.
Campfield had eaten there a couple of times before. A server who witnessed the incident said that Campfield was courteous as he left. The server said some customers applauded the action.
A sign outside the restaurant reads: Today's Special: Fried Chicken, Crispy Chicken Livers, No Stacey.
Monday afternoon, the Senator talked about the experience with 10News.
"The owner came up and said, 'I'm not serving you. You're a homophobe and hate gay people'. I said, 'I don't hate gay people. I don't care what they do'. She said, 'well, you said all those terrible things'. I said, 'well, all that stuff is backed up by the CDC'. She said, 'I'm not serving you. I don't care'. I said, 'okay'. I just left. I went to Latitude 35 and had a great breakfast," Senator Campfield said.