Jack Stack taking heat for renting out event space to anti-abortion group

An outside look at Fiorella's Jack Stack BBQ
An outside look at Fiorella's Jack Stack BBQ(Jack Stack BBQ)
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:54 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY METRO (KCTV) - Kansas City staple Jack Stack BBQ is taking heat from abortion rights advocates for renting out its event space to the group pushing to lift Kansas’ constitutional right to an abortion.

Kansas Amendment 2 would’ve modified the state’s constitution to remove the right to an abortion, opening the door for state legislators to regulate or ban such procedures. The proposed amendment was voted down Tuesday night 59 percent to 41 percent.

The group leading the charge on that amendment, Value Them Both, rented out the Fiorella Event Center in Overland Park for their Election Night watch party. Jack Stack runs the Fiorella Event Center.

Sports radio personality Darren Smith took to Facebook that night to chide Jack Stack, in a post that was then widely shared across the metro.

“So a certain bbq restaurant (Jack Stacks) was hosting a “Yes” party tonight in the hopes that it would pass over in Kansas,” Smith’s post said. “Many folks are on social media saying they won’t spend any more of their money there. Not that I have a dog in this fight, but if you know, you know. With five locations in the metro area, you know what it do. Gates BBQ, serving Kansas City for over 75 years.”

The post garnered 438 shares and 267 comments, many of which included users saying they would no longer frequent the popular BBQ joint.

Jack Stack responded the next day, saying the watch party at its event space should not been seen as the business endorsing the amendment. The restaurant rented out its event space to the Value Them Both group the same way it would rent out its event space to any third party, the business said.

Jack Stack’s full statement:

Dear Kansas City,

Many have heard that the “Value Them Both” Coalition rented space at Fiorella’s Event Venue to hold its election-night watch party yesterday evening. Without question, the emotions this event has spurred across Kansas City are seen as both real and valid by our team – and we respect the gamut of opinions that have been shared in response. To those who have reached out – we see you, we hear you, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to address this news.

In addressing last night’s event at Fiorella’s Event venue, we want to be clear: The “Value Them Both” Coalition chose to rent our event space in the same way that any other person or group would do when selecting an event venue. Our decision to provide that space should not be taken as an endorsement or denouncement in any direction. We are hopeful that all of Kansas City will continue to feel welcome whenever they find themselves at Jack Stack Barbecue or at Fiorella’s Event Venue in the future.

Thank you,

The Jack Stack Family