Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Debra Katz was quoted in a Washington Post article about Mike Isabella, a former Top Chef contestant who created a Washington, D.C. restaurant empire before losing it in a #MeToo scandal. KMB client Chloe Caras filed a lawsuit against Isabella and his partners, accusing them of “extraordinary” sexual harassment. The suit was settled in May of 2018.
Isabella now works as a consultant and co-chef at a restaurant operated by Cynthia Breslin in Sarasota, Florida. Breslin told the Washington Post that she did her research on Isabella and spoke with staff before deciding to bring him on as a consultant. She also commented that it was “odd” that Caras continued to work for Isabella despite the harassment.
Ms. Katz objected to Breslin’s victim-blaming. “The old trope that something didn’t happen because the woman continued in her job is just that: It’s an old trope,” she explained. “Women stay in terrible jobs. This wasn’t a he said/she said. There were many women who came forward who had the same experience in the Isabella restaurants. I hope Mike is truly rehabilitating himself and has found his way to something better. But to cast blame on the person who came forward with these allegations is just silly.”
For now Breslin said that she plans to credit Isabella on a future menu, and would like to hire him on a more permanent basis.
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