Ah, yes. As Jose Andres once teamed up with Hurricane Maria... pic.twitter.com/ZhbmcfVrGd— Max Clicks ??? (@ethaninhell) June 13, 2018
After Hurricane Maria brought Puerto Rico to its knees, chef José Andrés delivered 3.5 million meals to 70 different locations on the island. So, when chef Gabrielle Hamilton compared her involvement with a restaurateur accused of sexual harassment to what Andrés did, the internet’s collective jaw dropped.
Hamilton recently announced she, along with her wife, chef Ashley Merriman, would be joining Ken Friedman as co-owners and chefs of the Spotted Pig restaurant in New York.
Friedman has long been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by women working at his restaurants. He was also accused of giving celebrity chef Mario Batali a safe haven where he put in practice his sexually aggressive behavior.
His former Spotted Pig co-owner and chef, April Bloomfield, was also accused of ignoring complaints and reports of abuse. Strangely, when talking about taking on the task of helping run the Pig, Hamilton compared the work she was about to do to what Andrés did in Puerto Rico.
Referring to the situation the Pig and its employees have recently gone through as a “man-made disaster,” Hamilton told The New York Times that she and her wife were going to save the day, just like Andrés did.
“Everyone gets so excited when José Andrés goes into these natural disasters and helps people,” she told reporters. “They ought to be happy that these two women are going into a man-made disaster to help make things right.”
On Twitter, people were slightly confused, and they widely rejected the notion that Hamilton's so-called efforts are comparable to Andrés'.
I'm upset. https://t.co/xe5SArpQG7— Anna Hezel (@HezelAnna) June 13, 2018
Sorry but I need to go sit in a dark room for a while and process this https://t.co/pIBpHg4giW— your friend Helen (@hels) June 13, 2018
Justifying working with a sexual harasser doesn’t even belong in the same conversation as trying to save actual humans.— Alex (@rollercams) June 13, 2018
In which Gabrielle Hamilton, a white celebrity chef, compares her for-profit partnership with a white male sexual predator to... José Andrés feeding starving people in Puerto Rico for months.— Annia Ciezadlo (@annia) June 13, 2018
If you ever wondered what white privilege was, & why it sucks, this would be why. https://t.co/3Or0BXUwna
Girl, what. No. Stop. https://t.co/tNmPebSVZZ— Elizabeth Sile (@esile1) June 13, 2018
While it’s true that Friedman’s restaurant needs help, accusations seem to indicate that he has himself to blame for facilitating the culture of abuse.
It's incredibly disheartening for Hamilton to suggest that she will be helping people just like Andrés did when she’s partnering with a man who has yet to pay for his wrongdoing, especially since this misguided logic is coming from a woman.
Perhaps, now that her comments have prompted so much criticism, she will at least rethink her unfortunate comparison.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Robert Pratta