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Artist Banned From Chick-fil-A After Vandalism

Manny Castro Jr. pleads no contest to vandalizing a Torrance Chick-fil-A restaurant in August.

REDONDO BEACH, CA — A West Hollywood artist who admitted to vandalizing a Torrance Chick-fil-A restaurant just outside the Redondo Beach border with the words "Tastes Like Hate" in protest of the company president's comments against same-sex marriage pleaded no contest Friday to a misdemeanor vandalism charge.

As part of the plea, Manual "Manny" Castro Jr. was sentenced to three years' probation.

Castro, 31, was also barred from possessing any paint, paint brushes, spray paint, aerosol cans or vandalism tools outside his home, according to Torrance Assistant City Attorney Patrick Sullivan. Castro must perform 200 hours of community service, pay $400 in fines plus penalties and a $419 booking fee.

He also must stay away from all Chick-fil-A restaurants while on probation, Sullivan said.

In exchange for Castro's no-contest plea, a misdemeanor charge of possession of vandalism tools was dismissed. Castro was not in court for the hearing, and the plea was entered on his behalf by his attorney.

A restitution hearing was set for Jan. 9, Sullivan said.

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Castro painted the words "Tastes Like Hate" with the stenciled image of a cow holding a paint brush—a play on the restaurant chain's advertisements depicting cows encouraging people to eat more chicken—on an exterior wall of the restaurant at 18200 Hawthorne Blvd. in the early morning hours of Aug. 3.

Castro was arrested Aug. 8 after giving a statement to the Huffington Post claiming responsibility for the vandalism. Police were first tipped off to the vandalism—and Castro's subsequent confession—by local media organizations.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office declined to file felony charges at the end of August. John Zajec, the head prosecutor in the Torrance DA's office, said it cost the restaurant's owner "approximately several hundred dollars" to have the affected portion of the wall painted over.

"The amount of the damages appears to be relatively minor involving repainting a section of stucco wall approximately 15 feet long by 12 feet high," Zajec wrote in a charge worksheet. "The suspect has acknowledged his wrongdoing and offered to make restitution."

Perhaps in response to people calling the vandalism a "hate crime," Zajec noted that "the record does not establish the suspect was motivated by religious hatred."

Castro, who is gay, told the Huffington Post in a second interview that his intent was not to commit a crime.

"It's paint on a wall," he said. "It got removed in less than an hour. It's not that much of a crime—it's a protest."

The DA's office also noted that an unidentified second person may have been involved in the vandalism.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

Previously:

  • 'Tastes Like Hate' Painted on Wall at Chick-fil-A
  • Chick-fil-A Vandalism Suspect Arrested
  • DA Declines to File Felony Charges in Chick-fil-A Vandalism Case (Updated)
  • Arraignment Set for Chick-fil-A Vandalism Suspect
PENNY November 11, 2012 at 01:35 AM
I am also very supportive, but cannot sympathize with Mr Castro's action. What he might have done instead was paint his words and art on cardboard, attach it to a large stick, and put the stick in the ground at the Chik-fil-A. It would have made his statement without damaging anyone's property, and would have been read by people before being removed..
Fred November 11, 2012 at 01:42 AM
"...He also must stay away from all Chick-fil-A restaurants while on probation, Sullivan said...." That's ok with him, I'd bet. He just joins millions of other people who no longer go there (me included).
Katydid November 11, 2012 at 02:38 AM
If someone disagrees with you can they paint graffiti on your house?
j d burns November 11, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Manny b Walking up and down the street with a sign would have been too much like work. The vandal obviously thought anonymous graffit is sooo brave
j d burns November 11, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Sorry Leonard b not manny
Rich November 11, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Vince P, You have enough weird ones to pro bono for in South Beach. Stay the hell out of California. We have way too many weird ESQ types now.
Chris J Kapsalis November 11, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Karma. They are dishing out hate and got some back. No I do not condone Vandalism. But if someone is stupid enough to open up say a Nazi Burger joint, or a homophobe chicken joint, then you might piss someone off. I mean if someone opened an Anti Christian food chain, would you really have any sympathy for them if they got vandalized?
achmed November 11, 2012 at 06:11 AM
I'm sure at some point in time, the favor will be repaid by the other side. This is just another sign of the times.
Virginia Mae November 11, 2012 at 06:17 AM
I might not agree with Chick-fil-A, but I do agree with any business banning someone for defacing their property.
Freebird November 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM
why is it homophobia to say you don't believe in same sex marriages? If you believe in the Bible, it says marriage is between a man and a woman. In America, you should be able to have your religious beliefs respected just like the gay community is entitled to have their views respected. The idea of going to a business run by someone who is gay and changing their slogan by painting a religious connotation is the same thing.
Stephanie November 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM
this is America ... people have a right to an opinion ... Manny can be gay if he wants to be and Chick-fil-A can be anti-gay if they want to be .....so tolerance is only required to be one sided i guess. I am so sick and tired of this hypocrisy .... gays, atheist, muslims (and any other Non-Christians), blacks and other minorities want EVERYONE else NOT in their small sphere to be understanding, tolerant, totally accepting & with out an opinion ....yet these same minority groups are (typically) the LEAST accepting of other view points... RIDICULOUS ...it goes both ways and "Manny" had no right to deface another's property
Stephanie November 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM
check
Stephanie November 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM
agreed
chloi November 11, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Agree too
dragon November 11, 2012 at 01:18 PM
indeed
Chris J Kapsalis November 11, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Someone who is gay who says Christians should not be allowed to marry or have equal rights? I do not agree with what he did at all. But a better comparison would be a company that was against Blacks and Whites Marrying then upsetting people. If you believe in the Bible and what it says it also says some other things we would probably not tolerate if take literally and had a chain proclaim it. Or Muslim chain. Some things upset people and you have to have a clue. If someone had a store, a chain, and burned a US flag say. Free speech. They would be a fool. They would piss off a lot of people. And people would say they got what they dished. And I would agree but not condone it.
Chris J Kapsalis November 11, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Freebird, is it respecting their belief denying them the right to marry based on your own personal belief? ( Not you, but you. )
henry eroh November 11, 2012 at 02:35 PM
you are an idiot- this was a crime no matter what the guy says- the co- pays to have their store built and painted and this thing comes along- and thinks it is ok to do this-suppose he did it to your house as said below- I guess you would think it is ok- I would think if he did it to my house I would probably go to jail as a 357 would be his to worry about
Craig Westbrook November 11, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Right ... as long as he doesnt paint your house .. because you dont agree with something ... Being gay doesnt give you special rights .. and it doesnt give you the right to vandalize anything . Being a disrespectful punk , gets you on probation for three years and a fine .
Joey November 11, 2012 at 03:19 PM
I go there even more now!!
Craig Westbrook November 11, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Agreed !
Craig Westbrook November 11, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Good post !
Craig Westbrook November 11, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Yea .. sure .. You were a BIG Customer ! LOL ! Self proclaimed warrior of chicken fast food .... who cares wher you go , went or do ... unless it says LGBT you arent eating there ? Cool ! We all have a choice and yours is so .. well LBGT !
Pass the liver November 11, 2012 at 04:59 PM
They didnt anger me and I have never been to a Chick-fil-A.....Dont forget people you will "insitigate" something by having your own thought...esp..if Jan T doesnt agree..
Pass the liver November 11, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Free speech is great as long as you only agree with the Liberal point of view.. You cant even be Independent..it has to be there way or your a racist, or against, gays...
Pass the liver November 11, 2012 at 05:08 PM
He was to much of a coward...thats how taggers work..at night..when dark. Hide there face you know just like anyother crimial's...
Pass the liver November 11, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Your silly...go have another drink...
Pass the liver November 11, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Thanks for that Fred...Im going for lunch there today for the 1st time...all thanks to you..
Nicole Mooradian (Editor) November 11, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Hi everyone, I have deleted multiple comments that violate our Terms of Use. While we appreciate a good discussion at Patch, we ask that you please keep it civil and refrain from name-calling. Thank you!
Anton November 11, 2012 at 09:14 PM
" people calling the vandalism a "hate crime," Zajec noted that "the record does not establish the suspect was motivated by religious hatred.">> A hate crime does not have to be religious, it could be against race or lifestyle meaning if someone beat this guy up for being gay. It could be religious, this guy did this act of vandalism based on the owner of Chik-fil- religious belief on gay marriage. I have to disagree with this vandal though, it is not hate if you don't believe in gay marriage. There is something in this country called separation of church and state, if the core belief of a church is that marriage is between a man and a woman then the government has no right to force them to marry gays. If the federal Gov. says gay marriage is legal then gays can be married at the court house and have a legal marriage but they should not force any church to go against their core beliefs.

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