Slowly but surely, disgraced celebrity chef John Besh is getting scrubbed from the TV shows that helped make him a star. Back in November, Top Chef announced plans to remove Besh — a chef who’s facing sexual harassment allegations from more than two dozen employees — from a late-in-the-season episode that was filmed last spring. And now, it appears that the Food Network has erased Besh from an installment of Iron Chef Showdown that aired last night.
The episode, which featured chefs Tory Miller and Jenner Tomaska competing in “Battle Beat Bobby Flay,” was taped last summer with Flay as the Iron chef, and Besh and Giada De Laurentiis as the judges. Without any warning, the Food Network decided to bump the episode back from its previously announced December 13 air date to January 10. A network rep remarked that this was simply a “a scheduling change,” while co-host Alton Brown offered a different explanation for the switch-up:
As the Daily Meal points out, De Laurentiis ended up judging the competition by herself last night. But if you look closely, Besh is clearly in the background of a few shots, while in others, it appears that he’s been digitally removed. Here are two screengrabs of the action, where you can see De Laurentiis and reporter Jaymee Sire talking to Besh one moment, and then talking to a big blue hole the next:
The New Orleans chef/restaurateur was, however, featured as a judge in the Thanksgiving-themed season premiere of Iron Chef Showdown, which aired just two weeks after the reports of sexual misconduct in his restaurant group came to light. Years ago, Besh competed on the old Iron Chef in a battle against another chef who recently left his restaurant group due to reports of sexual misconduct, Mario Batali. Besh has also appeared on one season of Bravo’s hit cooking competition Top Chef Masters.
With the erasure of Besh from Iron Chef, the cancellation of the Johnny Iuzzini-hosted Great American Baking Show, and Mario Batali’s removal from The Chew, it appears that the food TV world is finally learning how to say goodbye to its bad guys.
• It Sure Looks Like John Besh Was Edited Out of This Week’s ‘Iron Chef Showdown [The Daily Meal]
• Tory Miller’s ‘Iron Chef Showdown’ set to finally air on Food Network Wednesday [Madison]
• All Food TV Coverage [E]