Ben’s Chili Bowl’s landmark U Street location in northwest D.C. has painted over a mural depicting the likeness Bill Cosby and other high-profile individuals, and is now soliciting public input for what should go up in its place.
The family of late Ben’s founder Ben Ali announced on its website Thursday that the mural, which depicted Cosby’s smiling face as well as those of former President Barack Obama, go-go music legend Chuck Brown and Donnie Simpson, had become old and weathered. The faces are now covered by stark white paint.
The Ali family had been among the last public supporters of the beleaguered Cosby, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women in recent years.
Co-owner Nizam Ali said the change was unrelated to Cosby’s troubles.
“The mural went up in 2012. It’s 2017. New mural, new year,” Ali told the Washingtonian. “It’s time to put something new up. It’s time to spring forth a good message of peace and unity.”
The restaurant is seeking the public’s input regarding how the mural should be replaced. Listed among suggestions are the faces of Barack and Michelle Obama.