The raucous eating contest known as Wing Bowl has drawn thousands of fans of the face-stuffing spectacle for 22 years in Philadelphia.
But the King’s Men, a non-profit organization of men based in Quakertown, opposes the event and says it has become pornographic by promoting exotic dancers and lewd behavior.
The group is inviting men to join what it calls a “peaceful outreach” from 6 to 10 a.m. Friday morning, Jan. 31, at the entrance to the Wells Fargo Center on Broad Street in South Philadelphia. Limited parking is offered at Stella Maris Church at 2901 South 10th Street, a few blocks from the sports complex.
In an interview with CatholicPhilly.com, Mark Houck, founder and president of the King’s Men, said about 25 men will attend the outreach.
“The Wing Bowl has for far too long flown under the radar with regard to indecent, lewd and other misbehavior that takes place during the event and the organizers’ ties to the ‘adult entertainment industry.’ It is high time that we expose the Wing Bowl for what it really is — debauchery,” Houck said in a statement on the King’s Men website.
Every year on the Friday before the Super Bowl is played, Wing Bowl sells out the Wells Fargo Center, and before it, the Spectrum. Some 20,000 are expected to attend.
Billed as a contest between individuals to eat the most wings in a given period of time, plus appearances by lightly clad young women known as Wingettes, Wing Bowl “has generated a Mardi Gras-like reputation with morally offensive and possibly illegal behaviors such as public nudity and drug activity with tailgaters,” Houck said.
For 10 years the Philadelphia-based organization has called on men “to take a stand against the cultural pandemic of pornography,” and through protests has worked to close 10 sexually oriented businesses, according to the statement.
Houck said his organization includes men “seeking growth in virtue” who want to “protect and uphold the dignity of every woman in our care and periphery.
“We plan to peacefully give witness at the Wing Bowl with the goal of challenging the attendees, its organizers and sponsors to seriously think about the insidious effects the event has on the community and the human family,” Houck said.
Wing Bowl, he said, has “exploited women through its long alliance with local sexually oriented businesses, specifically Delilah’s, and promotion of the porn industry with ‘adult film’ guest invitations.”
The King’s Men website lists a number of businesses sponsoring Wing Bowl, including its organizer, radio station WIP 94 FM, and calls on a “large network of supporters” to boycott the businesses.