After celebrity pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini, 43, was accused of sexual harassment and abuse by multiple women, TV network ABC decided to cancel The Great American Baking Show, on which Johnny was a judge. Here’s what we know about Johnny, the allegations, and the cancelled competition show:
Eight women accused Johnny of sexual misconduct. Mic published a story on Nov. 29 about four former employees who worked for Johnny from 2009 to 2011. The women described the work environment at the Jean-Georges restaurant in New York as “rampant with incidents of sexual harassment.” The media outlet then published another story on Dec. 12 detailing four more women’s sexual harassment allegations against the pastry chef.
Johnny initially called the accusations “inaccurate.” After the first story, Johnny expressed regrets that the women “did not feel comfortable coming to me as their superior and letting me know how they felt.”
ABC issued a statement in light of the allegations. “In light of allegations that recently came to our attention, ABC has ended its relationship with Johnny Iuzzini and will not be airing the remainder of ‘The Great American Baking Show’ episodes,” an ABC spokesman said in a statement. “ABC takes matters such as those described in the allegations very seriously and has come to the conclusion that they violate our standards of conduct.”
Johnny has issued another statement after ABC fired him. “While I understand ABC felt pressured to make this difficult decision, I am extremely disappointed and saddened that the show will not continue to air as scheduled,” Johnny said in a statement to CNN on Dec. 14. “I feel terrible for the bakers, fans of the show, the cast and everyone else involved in the production.” In the statement, he also apologized for what he said was “some unprofessional behavior 8-10 years ago,” before saying that “the sexual harassment allegations and many other reports against me were sensationalized and simply not true.”
The show was on its third season. The show, previously known as The Great Holiday Baking Show, premiered its last season on Dec. 7. It was a spin-off of the successful UK show The Great British Bake Off. The UK’s series judge Paul Hollywood also starred alongside Johnny in the American version, while Ayesha Curry and Anthony Adams co-hosted. The British series can be streamed in the U.S. on Netflix.
HollywoodLifers, what do you think of ABC canceling the competition series amidst Johnny’s allegations?