Earlier this week the Times-Picayune reported that Louisiana and the city of New Orleans tourism offices are giving Bravo $375,000 to sponsor the recently-announced Top Chef: New Orleans, leading to a bunch of controversy.
Now Bravo has taken a defensive position, leveraging their blog by running a statement from the city of New Orleans, which reads, in part: "Our investment came from our normal budget, which we planned for, not BP dollars." Which is true, the New Orleans tourism department is in fact not using BP funds (they were never accused of that). But Bravo never addresses that the Louisiana Office of Tourism is actually using the BP funds for Top Chef.
The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation will contribute $175,000; the Louisiana Office of Tourism's $200,000 contribution will be drawn from a recovery fund that oil giant BP set up after 2010's Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Earlier this week, Anthony Bourdain went on the offensive, Bravo Executive Vice President Andy Cohen fought back, and Treme creator/executive producer David Simon delivered a pretty epic takedown of Cohen's "bullshit in three easy stomps." Cohen has yet to respond other than tweeting: "he is throwing stones at me. It's all good."
Chef and Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson addressed the matter, tweeting yesterday: "Just for the record, I plan on not getting tax breaks when I buy $1000 in Sazeracs in New Orleans in the near future."