Utah restaurateur removes bull sculpture's controversial organ

Stephen Ward, owner of Barista's restaurant in Hurricane, said he had the "weenie" removed from the bull sculpture atop his sign, but it wasn't because of complaints.
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |  March 30, 2015 at 12:34 PM
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HURRICANE, Utah, March 30 (UPI) -- A Utah restaurant owner whose bull statue's prominent penis proved controversial said complaints did not influence his decision to remove the offending organ.

Stephen Ward, owner of Barista's restaurant in Hurricane, Utah, said he woke up Friday morning and decided the statue of a bull atop his eatery's sign would be just as well-off if he removed the giant cone-shaped phallus, which had been the target of multiple complaints from residents and local officials.

Ward said he called the city before going ahead with the sculpture surgery.

"I told them I am not removing the penis for you or because of your complaints," he told The Spectrum newspaper. "I don't like you. I'm doing it for me. I just decided it would look better without the weenie. And oh my god! It's beautiful."

The sculpture was installed March 14, and a Change.org petition submitted shortly after the installation called on city officials not to renew the eatery's business license.

City Manager Clark Fawcett said the sculpture was only the latest controversy at Barista's, which he said has been the subject of complaints from locals and tourists since the doors opened in 2009.

He said Ward submitted a proposal before erecting the sign with the bull statue, but "the dimensions of certain parts of the animal don't seem to be built the same way as in the plan that came to us."

A photo taken after the sculpture was altered shows that while the "weenie" was removed, the bull's other male organs appear to have been left intact between its legs.

Ward said he did not intend to cause controversy with the sculpture.

"I put it up because it's an amazing piece, and I bought it as-is, but I am having fun with all the attention, and it's brought in more customers," Ward said.

He said that while he does not agree with those who complained about the statue, he agreed there was something odd about its reproductive organs.

"It didn't even look [right], it was in the shape of a cone -- but I don't know what a weenie on a bull is supposed to look like," Ward said.

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