The Shady Side Of Guy Fieri
Guy Fieri is one of the Food Network’s most beloved stars, but the spiky-haired chef’s career has been riddled with scandals, lawsuits, and wild accusations about his behavior. Just how bad have things gotten for the Ohio-born foodie? Here’s a taste of the many times the host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives has found his reputation on the chopping block.
He fought his hairdresser
In late 2013, Fieri got into a violent and expletive-filled fight with his hairdresser, Ariel Ramirez, which was caught on tape by TMZ. The bizarre video shows Fieri fending off Ramirez with his legs as Ramirez fires off one f-bomb after another at Fieri. The “nuclear” brawl escalated so quickly, Fieri “threw [Ramirez] out of the SUV.” Fieri’s manager was then forced to take Ramirez home by cab. According to the report, the combatants had just landed at San Francisco International Airport (and had been drinking on the flight.)
A source for TMZ said the flight was akin to an episode of Seinfeld—a show about nothing—and was simply a case of “dudes being dudes.” A rep for Fieri said, “a bunch of guys were messing around. Things got a little out of hand, but they’re all good now.”
That, or maybe Fieri finally realized his hair needed a tune-up?
His Times Square restaurant is supposedly terrible
In 2012, Pete Wells, a food critic for The New York Times, made national headlines with his scathing takedown of Fieri’s restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, in New York City’s Times Square. The review was written as an open letter to Fieri, to whom Wells asked a number of brutal, if hilarious, questions: “How did nachos, one of the hardest dishes in the American canon to mess up, turn out so deeply unlovable?”
Wells’ review garnered so much attention that Fieri was forced to defend his restaurant’s reputation in an interview on the Today show. “I thought it was ridiculous, that to me was so overboard,” Fieri said. “We’re trying as hard as we can to make it right…Is it perfect right now? No. Are we striving for it? Yeah.” The food critic “came in with a different agenda,” he said.
His restaurant was infested with flies
Perhaps the food critic was onto something because in 2016, Radar Online uncovered a report by the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, which found that Fieri’s Times Square hot spot was infested with various types of flies. “”Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas,” the report said, according to Radar. “Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.”
Radar said the restaurant, which received a “B” rating from the inspection, had previously come under fire for having “live roaches” on the ground. Employees were also criticized for having “inadequate” personal cleanliness and for failing to use “proper utensils [to] eliminate bare hand contact with food.” In other words: ewwww.
He shrugged off an endorsement deal
Remember in 2008 and 2009 when Fieri starred in commercials for the restaurant chain T.G.I. Friday’s, raving about its Ultimate Recipe Showdown-inspired menu? Well, as it turns out, Fieri wasn’t exactly the restaurant’s most frequent customer. In fact, when cornered by those pesky TMZ cameras, he basically admitted that filming those ads was just business.
“I’m a Food Network chef, man!” Fieri told TMZ. “I just do commercials for Friday’s. You know how it works!” To his credit, Fieri didn’t exactly bash the restaurant. “It’s a good gig, man,” he said. “They back up one of my shows called Ultimate Recipe Showdown].”
We think he could have at least admitted that Friday’s chicken fingers are great because they totally are.
He was sued by a business partner
Fieri is in the midst of a legal dispute with longtime business partner Steve Gruber over Fieri’s request to close the restaurant chain Johnny Garlic’s, which he and Gruber founded in the mid ’90s. According to The Press Democrat, Fieri filed paperwork to dissolve the restaurant chain in December 2015, but Gruber had another idea. He tried to buy out Fieri’s stake in the company. (Gruber and Fieri each own half of the issued shares and voting power in the company.) When the partners could not agree on a price for Fieri’s stock, Gruber filed a lawsuit asking a court to help figure it out for them. Gruber appears to be pretty calm about the whole thing. He even offered to pay Fieri’s legal expenses, according to Courthouse News Service.
Fieri wants nothing to do with the restaurant chain. “After more than 20 successful years as a partner in Johnny Garlic’s Inc., Guy Fieri has chosen to separate from the company and its restaurants for creative and operational considerations,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Guy wishes the entire Johnny Garlic’s Inc., team the best.”
His neighbors hate him
In a 2015 GQ profile, Fieri discussed plans to create a wine-tasting room to accompany the winery he’d opened on his property. The only hitch? The hundred-plus neighbors who came to protest his plans at a public hearing in Sonoma County, Calif. Chief among their complaints? Guy doesn’t just wear loud shirts—he is loud. Here’s a smattering of the statements Fieri’s neighbors entered into the public record:
“The applicant has thought of everything except a place for his noise.”
“A race car was fired up next door by the applicant’s staff with no warning. The noise very nearly seriously injured one of my show horses. This has happened a couple of times.”
“My family lived across the street from the applicant’s residence. Guests would be loud, leave trash, and trample landscaping. All we could do was sell and move.”
According to GQ, Fieri’s tasting-room proposal was rejected.
He was accused of being anti-semitic and homophobic
During a wild legal dispute between former Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives producer David Page and the Food Network, Page accused Fieri of being crude, homophobic and anti-semitic in an infamous interview with City Pages. “You have to protect Guy from all of his poop jokes,” Page claimed in one of many jaw-dropping accusations. “Anytime any woman mentioned ‘cream,’ Guy went into a sexual riff. When cutting the show, you had to tell the editors to watch Guy’s eye line, because it’s always on breasts.”
Page also discussed an alleged incident from the early days of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in which Fieri expressed discomfort over two restaurant owners potentially being gay. “Guy had decided that the two men running the restaurant were life partners,” Page said. “He said [to me], ‘You can’t send me to talk to gay people without warning! Those people weird me out!'”
In discussions about costs and compensation associated with the bestselling Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives books, Page claims Fiori dissed some of the folks involved in the project using anti-semitic remarks. “Guy said to me: ‘You know, it’s true: Jews are cheap.'”
A spokesperson for Fieri shot down Page’s claims, saying, “Guy’s reputation speaks for itself.” Sources for Eater also sided with Fieri, calling the entire report a whole bunch of hooey.