AceShowbiz - Celebrity chef John Besh has resigned from Besh Restaurant Group, a company which he founded and co-owns. The resignation comes after 25 current and former Besh Restaurant Group employees claimed they experienced sexual harassment there.
"John has decided to step down from all aspects of operations and to provide his full focus on his family," Shannon White, who will replace Besh as the restaurant group's chief executive officer, told employees in an email.
The Times-Picayune previously reported that many women, 9 of whom agreed to have their names published, described BRG as a company where "several male co-workers and bosses touched female employees without consent, made suggestive comments about their appearance and-in a few cases-tried to leverage positions of authority for sex."
Another woman, who used to work at BRG, filed an Equal Opportunity Employment Commission complaint against Besh, who is married. She alleged that the 49-year-old "continued to attempt to coerce (her) to submit to his sexual overtures" during a months-long sexual relationship. In addition, she claimed that she faced "retaliation" by some BRG employees when she attempted to end her relationship with Besh.
In response to the allegations, the TV personality, who appeared on "Top Chef" and "Iron Chef America", said that the relationship was "consensual." The high-profile New Orleans restaurateur went on saying, "Since then I have been seeking to rebuild my marriage and come to terms with my reckless actions given the profound love I have for my wife, my boys and my Catholic faith."
"I also regret any harm this may have caused to my second family at the restaurant group, and sincerely apologize to anyone past and present who has worked for me who found my behavior as unacceptable as I do," the James Bread award winner continued in a statement.