A fish and chips eatery in Canada has been barred from opening a franchise restaurant because its name, Moby Dick, has been deemed "offensive".
Moby Dick Seafood Restaurant, named after the titular whale in Herman Melville's classic American novel, has operated in White Rock city since 1975, according to its website.
However, when its owner Yuriy Makogonsky recently applied to open a franchise near a harbour in downtown Vancouver, a strata corporation refused to issue a permit, the Washington Post reported on Thursday (Jan 19).
The strata corporation, a council-governed group consisting of property owners elected to oversee property, found the restaurant's name, particularly the word "dick", offensive, the Washington Post said.
L&H Trading Corp, the business whose property Moby Dick Restaurant was to take over, has sued the strata corporation for blocking the eatery's opening, Canada's CBC News reported on Wednesday (Jan 18).
In its lawsuit, L&H alleged that Moby Dick proposed several sign changes and renovations, but the strata council rejected "anything resembling the restaurant's original logo", CBC reported.
The strata council was of the view that Moby Dick restaurant would "harm the image" of the building, the suit said.
The council has yet to file a statement of defence.
Netizens were incredulous at the news, with many defending the name on a Facebook post by Canadian media site Global News on Friday (Jan 20).
Facebook user Cathy Brown commented on the post, saying that "Moby Dick is embedded in our culture as one of the best novels in modern times".
"If others want to have their minds in the gutter and turn it into something else then shame on them," she wrote.
Fellow commenter Donna Mae Johnston Smolders said that "this restaurant has been in business for years and no one has questioned the name nor have they been offended".
Laurie KM added: "Perhaps the strata could better occupy their time reading a book... Moby Dick is a good one to start with."