Attitudes to eating food prepared by HIV+ chefs was soon a hot topic of conversation throughout Canada and further afield thanks to the Casey House Break Bread Smash Stigma campaign.
Toronto pop-up restaurant June’s HIV+ Eatery, the world’s first HIV+ restaurant, brought out the best and the worst of humanity on social media. Using #smashstigma the campaign set out to counter ignorance and hatred with facts about food safety, but they were often beaten to it. Incensed by trolls’ ill-informed vile comments, people jumped to the defence of HIV+ chefs and June’s. Commenting on Break Bread Smash Stigma, judge Avril Lee said: “Simple but clear idea. A really creative way of tackling an issue.”
Conversations about HIV+ took off worldwide generating more than 920 million media impressions and 515 stories, 150 from major news outlets around the globe. In depth coverage was featured by The Guardian, The Telegraph, NBC, BBC, Fox, CTV, Global, CBC, VICE, Huffington Post, Reuters, Canadian Press, NPR and People Magazine.
The pop-up restaurant sold out raising $20,000 for Casey House and attention from around the world led to $100,000 in corporate donations.
And the conversation continues with HBO poised to air a documentary about June’s.