“Philadelphia” and “cheese” go together like peanut butter and jelly or ketchup and mustard.
We’re nationally renowned for our cheesy items: There’s Philadelphia cream cheese, Philly cheesesteaks and cheese perverts. Wait, what?
Maybe things aren’t all as rosy as they seem. In fact, Philly has had a long and complicated relationship with cheese. Here are Philly’s three most controversial cheese-related events.
1. “Speak English”: Geno’s Cheesesteak was known for its blunt “This is America: When Ordering Please ‘Speak English’” sign. One of Philly’s most venerable cheesesteak shops was marred by accusations of racism thanks to the sign – the controversy even inspired a play.
2. Kraft factory shooting: America loves Kraft singles, but there’s a darker history with the company. The Kraft factory in Northeast Philadelphia, which is slated to close in 2015, was the site of a deadly shooting in 2010. Yvonne Hiller, a then-employee at Kraft, was suspended for using profanity in the workplace and returned to the factory with a vengeance – and a gun. She shot three people, killing two. She was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder.
3. ‘Swiss Cheese Pervert’: Christopher Pagano, better known around the nation as the “Swiss Cheese Pervert,” made viral headlines after it was reported that he was driving around masturbating with slices of Swiss cheese. He entered a Philadelphia courtroom and pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor charges of harassment and indecent exposure today. He seeks to avoid publicity, though it may be a bit late for that.
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