KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The owner of Bistro at the Bijou in downtown Knoxville booted state Sen. Stacey Campfield from her restaurant Sunday over his controversial comments on homosexuality and the origin of AIDS.
The sign in front of the Bistro on Monday read, "Today's Special: Fried Chicken. Crispy Chicken Livers. No Stacey."
Campfield, a Knoxville Republican, recently gave an interview on The Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius XM's OutQ satellite radio station.
During the show, he said, "My understanding is that it's virtually, not completely, but virtually impossible to contract AIDS, outside of blood transfusions, through heterosexual sex. It's virtually impossible."
The senator's bill, nicknamed the Don't Say Gay bill, passed the state Senate last year. It's set to go before the House in February. It would block teachers from discussing homosexuality in elementary and middle school classrooms.
Campfield was a guest Sunday morning on the The Hubert Smith Radio Show on WUTK. Afterward, Smith said Campfield wanted to take the crew to lunch so he recommended the Bistro.
Restaurant owner Martha Boggs didn't take kindly to Campfield's XM radio claims. "It was a spur of the moment decision to ask Mr. Campfield to leave, which he graciously did," she said on Monday.
"I just think his comments have gone from controversial to plain dangerous to give out the kind of misinformation that he has. And I thought it was important to show my support for the gay community and stand up to a bully, which he is," Boggs said. "I just hope Mr. Campfield will re-think some of the comments he's made."
"I am not sorry for what I did," she added. "I just didn't want to serve him."
Campfield said by phone Monday that Boggs confronted him as he was looking for a table. In response he says he assured her that he doesn't hate homosexuals and was quoting statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.
"In the past, Tennessee had a past of segregating people at lunch by color. Now I guess we have to segregate people by their political ideology," Campfield said.
When asked if he was surprised by Boggs' response, Campfield said, "It looks like were getting to the point where people of different points of view can't sit together."
"The liberals are all for everybody having free speech until they realize that other people do actually have different points of view. Then they can't handle it," Campfield said. "They go bonkers. They don't know how to handle other people having different points of view. Unfortunately, they're closed minded people."
"I'm just curious how she (Boggs) would react if someone said they wouldn't serve a homosexual in her restaurant, if she would be accepting to that point of view," he added.
Instead of trying a return trip to the Bistro anytime soon, Sen. Campfield said, "I'll spend my money where people have open minds."