• Gordon F***king Ramsay
Anyone who has been subjected to Gordon Ramsay’s famously foul tirades, or merely watched them on TV from a comfortable chair, probably has wondered why people don’t call him to account for his behavior.
I know, I know. Much of it is acting out for the TV cameras to increase controversy and drive up ratings. Anyone who has seen his slightly calmer British shows compared to his flaming U.S. versions knows that. But Ramsay is not that good an actor. Much of it has to be his real vinegar-y personality.
Thus, it isn’t terribly surprising that the prime minister of Australia has labeled him a “low life.” Here’s how it came about.
Ramsay was in Australia for a set of personal appearances. He was a guest on the popular talk show “A Current Affair,” hosted by Tracy Grimshaw. He apparently made insulting remarks to another host and a member of the studio’s cleaning staff. The next day, at a food-and-wine tasting event in front of a crowd of several thousand, Ramsay is alleged to have held up a photograph of a naked woman on all fours, with multiple breasts and a pig’s face, and commented: “That’s Tracy Grimshaw. I had an interview with her yesterday. Holy crap. She needs to see Simon Cowell’s Botox doctor.” He also called Grimshaw a lesbian.
Ramsay, 42, at first claimed the insults were “tongue in cheek,” but then issued a public apology. That hasn’t done anything to lessen the furor, especially since unbroadcast footage of Ramsay in the studio makeup room popped up in the Australian media. In it, he makes cutting comments about several staffers, including a make-up artist, a cleaner, and a weather presenter. He is heard to say: “F***ing breath stinking of caffeine. … Christ almighty. … Turn around the other way. I don’t want to see your fat a** that way.”
Grimshaw, 49, described the celebrity chef as an “arrogant narcissist” and a “bully.” She also said, “Obviously Gordon thinks that any woman who doesn’t find him attractive must be gay. For the record, I don’t and I’m not.”
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said, “All I could describe his remarks as reflecting is a new form of lowlife. I just drew breath when I saw the sort of stuff which was said about her, I just think that’s offensive. Good on Grimshaw for giving him a left upper cut.”
This isn’t Australia’s first run-in with the salty Scot. Last year, when an episode of his “Kitchen Nightmares” show was broadcast, showing Ramsay using a four-letter expletive more than 80 times in 40 minutes, a flood of complaints prompted a parliamentary review. That resulted in instructions to TV networks to review the way they rate programs.
Given Ramsay’s rampant boorishness, it probably would be better to investigate why people annoyed or offended by such behavior — real or enhanced for show biz — bother watching any of his shows in the first place.