Restaurant sues Gordon Ramsay after resurfaced footage from his show goes viral
We've all heard of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. I hope. When you think of Gordon Ramsay and his enduring schtick of yelling expletive-laden diatribes at people who have temerity to cook a steak slightly wrong, you're either thinking of Hell's Kitchen, or you're picturing Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
It was an extremely popular show during its run, but although Ramsay's since moved on to new projects like 24 Hours to Hell and Back or his less well-received show about cooking foreign dishes (Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted), his old show has come back to haunt him in a strange fashion.
The main selling point of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares is that Gordon Ramsay goes to a failing restaurant, and brings it back from the brink to a ton of smiles and cautiously triumphant score, yadda yadda. It can have an effect on a restaurant as any Diner, Drive-in or Dive featured on Guy Fieri's flagship show, but one New Orleans outlet found out in the worst way that such an effect can go both ways.
New episodes of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares stopped airing on FOX back in 2018, and Oceana Grill were featured on the show back in 2011. Since then, the restaurant has gone from strength to strength, but received a very unwelcome blast from the past, after a video on the Kitchen Nightmares Facebook page went viral.
Although the video has since been taken down, the New Orleans Advocate reports that the video in question involves Ramsay "vomiting after opening a bin of shrimp" and reportedly finding dead rats in rat traps. What's the problem? The parent company of Oceana Grill, Cajun Conti, say: "none of the above-described events were real, but were contrived and orchestrated by defendants [Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares] to manufacture drama for their show."
So controversial was this footage, that Cajun Conti initially sued Gordon Ramsay and FOX, trying to stop the episode from airing back at all in 2011. They lost the case, but reached an agreement with FOX that meant they couldn't air any “re-mixes” of the footage without paying Cajun Conti $10,000 and giving an update on how the restaurant was doing today.
No such update was issued.
"During the episode’s filming, defendants went to great lengths to over-dramatize and even fabricate problems with the restaurant in order to increase ratings," reads the lawsuit filed against Gordon Ramsay and FOX. "The footage intentionally portrayed Oceana and its employees in a patently false and negative light, as it depicted the appealing restaurant as an unsuccessful, unsanitary and mismanaged restaurant."
While it's to be expected that Kitchen Nightmares ramp things up for dramatic purposes and that you could possibly argue that Oceana Grill don't have a leg to stand on once they agreed to appear on the show, videos like this without context could really do a number on the restaurant's popularity. As of yet, Gordon Ramsay or FOX have yet to respond to the lawsuit.