Alton Brown isn’t making many friends online this week.
On Monday, the celebrity chef, author and former Food Network host found himself in hot water on Twitter with a miscalculated post about his conservative leanings – and days later he boiled things up with a few more tweets. more misguided about the Holocaust.
Brown appears to have deleted all offending posts and apologized for the Holocaust tweets. But at this point the controversy has grown into something larger, tracing the disturbing comments the chef has made (and allegedly made) in the past. At this point he seems ready to join Enjoy your meal and Alison Roman on the Culinary World A-listers list to disappoint their fans in 2020.
Things started to heat up earlier this week when Brown tweeted, “I’ve voted Republican most of my life. I consider myself to be a conservative. I want to believe that there are still ‘very good’ people on both sides of the aisle but… if the #GOP leaders don’t stick their collective noses out of this man’s ass, we’ll have words.
Brown later clarified that he had voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this election cycle, as well as Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in his home state of Georgia. Yet his tweet appears to assume that the unrest we’ve seen over the past four years – which now culminates in the President of the United States failing to govern while publicly laying the groundwork for a coup – started with Trump. As many quickly told Brown, such thinking ignores the fanaticism and Machiavellian cruelty that has characterized the GOP for decades, especially the past decade.
People told Brown – and to one fan who said they were ‘disappointed’ the chef replied, ‘Frankly, you don’t have the right to be disappointed with me. Not at all. I used my own platform to express my opinion. You may not like me, but the disappointment in me should be reserved for, say, bad recipes.
But as Evan DeSimone wrote in his own response, “You cannot ask to be judged solely on your work and not on your politics when it is your policies that have a direct impact on people’s lives.
Anyway, things only got worse a day later when Brown decided to follow things up with few Holocaust references: “So when they move us to the camps, do you think? that they will let us choose the state? ” he wrote on Tuesday. “I’m going to ask Kansas because the sky is so beautiful over there… on the wheat.”
“Do you think the camp uniforms will be striped, like those at Auschwitz, or that the checks will be in fashion? he added later. When one person said his uniform would depend on his wealth, Brown replied that he had “no gold fillings”. (The Nazis removed gold teeth and fillings from Jews they murdered in concentration camps.)
The next morning, after a second flood of criticism, Brown released a statement: “I apologize for the offhand reference I made to the Holocaust in my tweet last night,” he wrote. . “This was not a reference I made for a humorous effect, but rather to reflect how deeply I am afraid for our country. It was a very bad use of judgment and in bad taste.
For this reader, it’s hard to see how this commentary on the “gold fillings” in particular was meant to convey a deep sense of fear, but if he says so …
But social media users have also started to share reports and allegations from years past, including a 2011 blog post by a fan named David Rheinstrom who said he had traveled hundreds of miles to see Brown in a local library in Iowa only to find out, like he said, “Alton Brown is a jerk.
Rheinstrom wrote that while holding a book for the public, Brown said, “So, okay – this book is from the South, where I’m from, and it has a few things that might be a bit foreign and exotic to you Iowans. Turning the page, Rheinstrom said, Brown told the audience, “Look! A real living nigger! When the audience stood in awkward silence, they reportedly whispered, “Okay. Remind me not to make African American jokes in Iowa.
Brown seemed to be trying to poke fun at the homogeneous whiteness of Iowa, agreed Rheinstrom – but his alleged use of the word “Negro” remains questionable at best.
At another point, Rheinstrom added, Brown was joking with a young girl and her family in the audience when he said to the child, “If that guy next to you is yours. other daddy, i’m in the false State. “(Underlined by Rheinstrom.)
A representative for Brown did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
“Turning the page, Rheinstrom said, Brown told the audience, “Look! A real living nigger! When the audience stood in awkward silence, they reportedly whispered, “Okay. Remind me not to make African American jokes in Iowa.“
Brown also expressed particular disdain for fat people, often reducing their size to a simple matter of diet, ignoring all other factors that can contribute to a person’s body size.
In 2008, Brown told the East Bay Times, “I have struggled with weight my entire life, and probably always will. But I was on my last book tour, I was shocked at the number of overweight families. People would come up to me and say, “Oh, we love the Food Network”. Well, no (expletive); did you eat the tv? There are only four of you and you cannot ride an elevator together. I will probably anger the fat ones, but we as a culture must be ashamed. It’s not healthy.'”
As to whether obesity is a disease, Brown said the New York Times in 2015, “obesity is not a disease. Can it be caused by diseases in some rare cases? Yes, but the second our society starts to think of shoveling Big Macs in our faces as a disease, then we’re done, we’re done as a culture.
What can we say? ... At least we still have Ina Garten?
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