As Gawker's Leah Finnegan notes, no one from Bravo or among the Top Chef brass has commented on Erales sexual harassment scandal except host Padma Lakshmi, who tweeted a call for the network to investigate the allegations shortly after last season's finale. "No one’s silence on Erales was louder than Tom Colicchio’s," says Finnegan, pointing out that Colicchio has finally spoken about the controversy for the first time in an interview with The Daily Beast. When asked how he felt when he found out about Erales' sexual harassment scandal, Colicchio said: “Well, I mean, you know, it’s in the past. But I’m not sure what we’re talking about because nothing’s really come out.” But as Finnegan points out, "Except… it has come out. Including from Erales himself." When asked what he thought about Erales allegedly retaliating against a woman he had an affair with in the workplace, Colicchio said: “I think what happens is, you know, something comes out and sexual harassment is talked about — this certainly didn’t rise to the occasion of some of the other chefs, some of the stuff that they were doing or allegations of rape and things like that. So I’m not saying any of it’s acceptable, but also, we never once heard from the woman who he had an affair with and it was a consensual affair.” Finnegan adds: "At best, this is textbook 'what not to say about sexual misconduct if you’re in the public eye' stuff; at worst, it’s grossly callous to survivors of sexual harassment and assault. To measure any allegations against the severity of rape — to put the burden of proof on a victim — it seems like Colicchio hasn’t learned much in the so-called sexual harassment reckoning the restaurant industry has experienced, even though he’s written about it himself."
TOPICS: Tom Colicchio, Bravo, Top Chef, Gabe Erales, Reality TV, Sexual Misconduct