The chickens continue to come home to roost for John Besh. Since 25 of his employees reported sexual harassment and assault at his 1,200-person restaurant group, the chef has stepped down, lost two nationally syndicated cooking shows, and has been dropped by partners like Harrah’s. Now it’s Bravo’s turn: He’d also taped an episode of Top Chef’s latest season as a guest judge before the New Orleans Time-Picayune’s exposé came out. In the fallout, Bravo and the show’s producer Magical Elves made it clear that they sure didn’t want Besh’s mug popping up, but weren’t exactly sure how to remove it.
Well, it seems the elves worked some magic: A Bravo rep now tells Eater that “we have removed John Besh from the upcoming episode.”
Judge Tom Colicchio, who’s been vocal about industry harassers facing karma, says it was the only acceptable move. “Bravo to Bravo for making this decision,” he said in a statement to Eater, adding that “when the stories first broke about John, their response was that they didn’t know how to edit him out, but they worked really hard to do that. So it’s great that they spent the time and did the right thing.” Editing can be tough on a show like Top Chef, since Besh could’ve affected that episode’s outcome, and therefore the rest of Season 15’s. But apparently, the team settled on edits that “won’t disrupt the flow of the competition.”
Turns out the show had a second Mayday situation: The premiere originally featured Melissa Perfit, of San Francisco’s Bar Crudo, saying this during one of her confession-cam soliloquies: “I like to sexually harass the guys a little bit. Like, they do it to me, I’m giving it right back to them.” Colicchio says that if you watch the episode now, “you won’t see that,” adding that the line was filmed back in May, and that he imagines Perfit’s joke “would not have been made if it were today.”