What You Need to Know About Sexual Harassment and Celebrity Chefs
Following Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment scandal, other industries have begun evaluating their workplace cultures. One workplace rampant with sexual harassment is the food industry. Numerous celebrity chefs’ alleged sexual harassment in the workplace is now in the spotlight. Here’s more on what you need to know about sexual harassment in the restaurant industry.
Sexual harassment is common in the food industry
Studies show just how common sexual harassment is in the industry. The New York Post breaks down the numbers. 66% of women and more than 50% of men reported having been sexually harassed by their manager, according to a report from Restaurants Opportunities Centers United. According to the study, men and women are sexually harassed by their coworkers most often. 80% of women and 70% of men reported being victims of harassment at the hand of their coworkers.
25 women accuse John Besh of sexual harassment
John Besh, a well known New Orleans based chef is under fire for his poor workplace culture. Former and current employees, totaling 25 women, say they’ve experienced sexual assault while working for Besh Restaurant Group, according to nola.com/The Times-Picayune. In light of the allegations, John Besh’s celebrity chef star power has begun to dim. As a guest judge on Top Chef, Besh has been edited out of a recent episode, Eater says.
Mario Batali sexual harassment claims go back decades
Multiple women have come forward with sexual harassment claims against celebrity chef, Mario Batali. Batali, one of the Food Network’s first star chefs, is stepping down from day-to-day operations of his company, according to a statement given to Eater. The sexual harassment claims shows a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Batali. In light of the allegations against Batali, he’s no longer a co-host on ABC’s, The Chew.
Johnny Iuzzini allegedly demands messages
Celebrity chef, Johnny Iuzzini, is accused of sexual harassment by former employees, according to Mic. “In addition to making sexually explicit remarks and lewd gestures, he allegedly demanded shoulder massages from female employees at the end of shifts,” Eater says. Iuzzini is a judge on the popular ABC program, The Great American Baking Show. His future on the show is unknown.
Fellow celebrity chefs respond to allegations
“It’s a time of cleansing,” Giada De Laurentiis, celebrity chef, told TMZ. In a brief clip of Giada’s comment, TMZ reports no look of surprise on her face about the allegations against Mario Batali. In the same vein as de Laurentiis, celebrity chef, Tom Colicchio believes cleansing a tv show of a fellow chef is the right move. “When the stories first broke about John [Besh], their response was that they didn’t know how to edit him out, but they worked really hard to do that,” Top Chef judge, Tom Colicchio, who works with John Besh on the show, told Eater. “So it’s great that they spent the time and did the right thing,” Colicchio added.
Abe Hiroki allegedly harasses manager
Abe Hiroki, a celebrity sushi chef, is being accused of sexual harassment by the manager of his restaurant. The manager, Mayumi Bardiovsky, alleges Hiroki “routinely harassed her and made inappropriate sexual remarks,” Variety says. Hiroki and Bardiovsky are both Japanese. “Hiroki makes many of his offensive comments in Japanese so the English-speaking staff will not understand, Bardiovsky’s compliant says. In a statement, the restaurant says an investigation is underway.
Women discuss sexism in the food industry
People assume Alexandra Feswick, the chef de cuisine at Toronto’s The Drake Hotel, is “a subordinate member of the team, not the boss,” she told Flare. Brewery sales representative and founder of the Society for Beer Drinking Women (SOBDL), Ren Navarro, has to explain the reason for the society to men. “SOBDL still gets backlash from guys who are like, ‘Why do you need these events?’ I have to explain that when I’m one of 100 women at a beer event where there are 4,000 guys, I don’t feel safe,” Navarro said. Feswick and Navarro are among many women in the industry who regularly deal with the boys club atmosphere.
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