The network made the decision in light of allegations of sexual misconduct against Johnny Iuzzini.
The food world continues to feel the repercussions of alleged sexual harassment on the part of chefs in any every aspect of the industry. On Wednesday evening, ABC decided to pull The Great American Baking Show off the air, which premiered on December 7, as allegations of misconduct against Johnny Iuzzini continue to surface.
According to a report published by Mic, so far eight women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Iuzzini, one of the show’s celebrity judges. Those women claim that the misconduct took place at Jean-Gorges, where Iuzzini served as Executive Pastry Chef. He denied the allegations in a statement, in which he said, “Many of the other allegations are inaccurate, others I do not recall and none were meant to hurt people.” According to his accusers, his misconduct took place for ten years, between 2004 and 2014, and included physical threats and sexual harassment.
A spokesperson for ABC explained the network’s decision in a statement released on Wednesday: “In light of allegations that recently came to our attention, ABC has ended its relationship with Johnny Iuzzini and will not be airing the remainder of The Great American Baking Show episodes. ABC takes matters such as those described in the allegations very seriously and has come to the conclusion that they violate our standards of conduct. This season’s winner will be announced at a later date.”
This week, reports of misconduct against Mario Batali, as well as restaurateur Ken Friedman, who has collaborated with chef April Bloomfield on five restaurants, have surfaced. Batali has stepped down from his restaurant empire in the aftermath, with chefs and television personalities from Tom Colicchio to Anthony Bourdain expressing support for the victims and condemning the perpetrators. Last night, Bloomfield released a statement of her own on Twitter, writing that she is “truly sorry,” for Friedman's conduct, and pledges that “under my watch…no employee will endure this kind of pain again.”