Gentle readers, I confess that among my guilty reality show pleasures, I occasionally enjoy “Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares,” mostly because my inner clean freak is always deeply gratified to watch Gordon go berserk on restaurant owners whose kitchens are filthy and roach-infested. He’s also a palate-cleansing shot of vinegar compared to fellow Brit foodie star, Jamie Oliver, whose goofy, gee-whiz routine gets old quickly (although neither of them can hold a candle to my snarkily delicious love-munch, Anthony Bourdain. Tony, call me!)
You don’t have to watch Gordon Ramsay for long to know that he’s a total rage-aholic with some serious boundary issues, and this month his mediagenic rage psychosis finally come back to bite him in the ass.
Foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay has shocked a public audience by vilifying high profile Australian journalist Tracy Grimshaw in an obscene, sexist rant. The putrid tirade, which included references to Grimshaw’s looks, sexuality and depictions of her as a pig, shocked audiences…at the Good Food and Wine Show in Melbourne.
Ramsay told an audience of several thousand people that Grimshaw was “a lesbian”, the Sunday Herald Sun reports. When the crowd reacted with gasps, he said: “What? I’m not saying she’s a …” (ed: Rhymes with ‘mike’?) Ramsay also showed a picture of a woman – who appeared to be naked – on her hands and knees with the features of a pig and multiple breasts.
Well now. As India Knight of the Times reported:
Australia’s prime minister waded into the row, volunteering the opinion that Ramsay’s comments reflected “a new form of low-life” and were “off and offensive”…eventually a spokeswoman for Ramsay conceded that “with hindsight he realises that his comments were inappropriate and offensive and he has unreservedly apologised to Tracy Grimshaw”.
But the most striking thing about the Gordon Ramsay scandal isn’t mentioned in most of the coverage, which is that Ramsay has been an active fund-raiser for battered women’s shelters, and wrote an op-ed piece for CNN about growing up in a violently abusive home:
A home should be a place where you feel safe and loved; when I was a kid, our home was anything but that.
Growing up, my father was less than a perfect role model. He became terribly violent with my mum, to the point where she feared for her life. Every time he got violent, any present that my brother, sisters, or I had given mum would be smashed, simply because he knew it belonged to her. There were instances when the police were called to take him away; mum was taken to the hospital while we kids were taken to a children’s home.
Don’t have to be a licensed psychologist to figure out why Gordon has rage issues, huh? But in the same essay he writes:
I could never see myself behaving the way my father did when I was a child. I want to be a role model for my children and have them look up to me.
O RLY? Are they proud of a dad who swears and shouts and breaks things on national television and says vile, hateful things about women in front of large audiences? Gordon Ramsay may not beat his wife and children the way his father did, but in that CNN essay he observes:
Domestic violence is not identified solely by violent physical abuse; instead, it is defined as physical, sexual, psychological, financial, or emotional violence… Eventually, this develops into a pattern of coercive and controlling behavior.
Sound familiar? I thought so too.
Oddly enough, Gordon reports that his mom gave him a good “bollocking” for his behavior toward Tracy Grimshaw, which was part of what inspired his apology. India Knight of the Times sarcastically called bullshit on Ramsay’s motive here: “Ah, good old Gordon, he can’t be that bad because he loves his mum and she’s a woman.”
The only thing I hate worse than a misogynist is a hypocrite, and Gordo’s got a gold medal in both. Ramsay got dinged for being such an outspokenly nasty pig, but I’m surprised that no one also drubbed him for being a fucking hypocrite. Here’s a guy who condemns violence against women while he make a living being flagrantly, theatrically abusive–and in this case, obscenely woman-hating–for public display. And he doesn’t even bother with the standard “oh, it’s just a character I play for the cameras” excuse (not that we’d buy it if he did). Does the media truly think that the philanthropy and the raging can be compartmentalized? That because he does one, he gets a free pass for the other? Seems like it to me, and Gordon Ramsay clearly thinks there’s nothing contradictory about hosting star-studded fund-raisers for battered women’s shelters and being a disgusting woman-hater and raging bully for pay.