1:30pm PT by Kate Stanhope
'Top Chef' "Evaluating" John Besh Appearance After Sexual Harassment Allegations
An upcoming Top Chef episode featuring celebrity chef John Besh is currently under scrutiny after 25 current and former female employees alleged they were sexually harassed by male bosses and colleagues while working for his Besh Restaurant Group.
Bravo is currently "evaluating" the upcoming episode in which Besh appeared, a network spokesperson tells The Hollywood Reporter. The New Orleans-based chef filmed one challenge for the episode, which is currently in post-production and is scheduled to air later in the season. The upcoming 15th season kicks off Dec. 7.
The Times Picayune published the allegations Saturday following an eight-month investigation. In addition to accusing male bosses of verbal and sexual assault, several of the women interviewed said individuals at the company tried to leverage positions of authority for sex. In a statement to the paper, Besh acknowledged he had carried on what he claimed to be a consensual sexual relationship with an employee. However, the employee in question claimed in a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that she felt pressured.
In the wake of the allegations, Harrah's New Orleans Casino has cut ties with Besh and said it will rename his steak restaurant in the casino. It was announced Monday that he was stepping down from management at his restaurant group.
Besh had appeared on Top Chef several times and competed on Top Chef Masters in 2009. Since his rise to fame in the culinary world, he had also hosted several TV shows including Chef John Besh's New Orleans and Chef John Besh's Family Table, both on PBS, and Spike's Hungry Investors. He also competed on The Next Iron Chef and served as a judge on Food Network Challenge. He has also authored several cookbooks.
Behs is just the latest famous figure to be hit by sexual harassment allegations, following longtime movie producer Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback, former Fox News head Roger Ailes, former Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly and comedian Bill Cosby, among others.