Celebrity chef leaves own restaurant group amid sexual harassment allegations

Celebrity chef John Besh has stepped away from his own restaurant group after 25 women came forward to accuse Besh of sexual harassment, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported

The Times-Picayune investigated the women's claims over the span of eight months. After the report surfaced over the weekend, Besh stepped away from the Besh Restaurant Group. The company still bears Besh's name. 

"John has decided to step down from all aspects of operations and to provide his full focus on his family," new CEO of Besh Restaurant Group Shannon White told the Times-Picayune. 

 

 

The Besh Restaurant Group, which began operations in 2005, does not have a professional human resources department to handle internal complaints. The company manages 11 restaurants, and 1,200 employees. Two employees took their grievance to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

According to the Times-Picayune, a former employee told the EEOC that Besh "continued to attempt to coerce (her) to submit to his sexual overtures" during a months-long sexual relationship while she worked for him."

In response to one of the allegations, Besh claimed that it was "a consensual relationship."

Besh, 49, has made appearances on cooking programs such as "Iron Chef America," "The Next Iron Chef" and "Top Chef." He also has authored a number of cookbooks. 

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