Moby Dick Restaurant's 'Offensive' Name Spawns Suit

Building council objects to eatery's moniker and logo
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2017 7:03 AM CST
Moby Dick Restaurant's 'Offensive' Name Spawns Suit
Are you offended by the name?   (Getty Images/oversnap)

Maybe if they had just called it Ishmael, none of this would have happened. A British Columbia company has filed a lawsuit against a building council that refuses to let it lease a unit it owns to a Moby Dick Restaurant fish-and-chips franchise in part because the second word in the eatery's name was deemed "offensive," Courthouse News reports. The plaintiff, Mengfa International, has owned the unit since 2010, and it had initially leased the space to an Asian-fusion restaurant. But after that restaurant started having money troubles, Moby Dick Restaurant came onto the scene in May and agreed to a lease-and-purchase arrangement that would seemingly solve everyone's problems. However, that arrangement was rejected by the building in July. It said the "word ‘Dick’ in Moby Dick was an offensive term,” per the lawsuit.

The building council alleges that signs and other markers with the name and logo would sully the brands of other properties in the building and lower property values. The council also worried about litter and restaurant odors. The lawsuit, however, scoffs at claims that the name would somehow cause nearby property values to plummet, noting that it's a seafood restaurant in a waterfront community—right up the name's alley. Mengfa adds it would do its part to keep litter under control and points out it would be using the same kitchen ventilation system as the previous restaurant. As for the name fracas overall: "Moby Dick" is "not offensive to the public, given its literary significance and fame," the suit says. The building council has not filed its defense statement, notes the CBC. (An odd question about Moby Dick answered.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.