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Monday, October 23, 2017

John Besh steps down from his position at the BRG

Posted By on Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 12:57 PM

John Besh
  • John Besh

Chef John Besh is stepping down from his position at his restaurant group, according to a letter sent to members of the company from a Besh Restaurant Group executive.

The news, first reported by The New Orleans Advocate, comes following a hard-hitting investigation by Brett Anderson at | The Times-Picayune that detailed an alleged culture of sexual harassment at the restaurant group, which employs more than 1,000 people at 12 restaurants.

In the letter,  company executive Shannon White stated that the celebrity chef “has decided to step down from all aspects of operations and to provide his full focus on this family.” A spokesperson for the Besh Restaurant Group did not reply to an email for comment, but an employee of Los Angeles-based public relations team Sitrick & Company — a high-profile firm that handles crisis public relations — sent Gambit a copy of the letter.

The letter also stated that White will be taking over as chief executive officer at the restaurant group and that the company is launching an independent investigation to see "whether any unreported claims exist," so they can be addressed.

Anderson’s story included interviews with 25 current and former employees of the Besh Restaurant Group who described the company as a place where sexual harassment thrived and ran all the way to the top. The report cited two complaints filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and interviews with people who detailed a culture of systematic harassment where there was no recourse as the company lacked a human resources department until very recently.

The story comes amid the public fallout between Besh and chef Alon Shaya, who said in a Facebook statement that he was fired from the restaurant bearing his name after speaking to the Times-Picayune reporter about the allegations.

On Sunday evening, Harrah's announced it had cut ties with Besh, and that the restaurant inside the casino — Besh Steak — will no longer bear the chef's name.

Shaya, meanwhile, has gone on to launch his own restaurant group, Pomegranate Hospitality, where Shaya restaurant alum Zach Engel has already joined the team as culinary director.

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