Sometime this month, the world woke up and discovered it was no longer enamored with the Fat Jew, a collector of other people’s jokes best known for submerging himself in large vats of food. The fallout was quick—he’s already lost a TV development deal with Comedy Central and a gig with Seamless. But things can always get worse, and indeed they have: now even food wants nothing to do with his toxic brand.
Josh Ostrovsky, aka the Fat Jew, was set to headline a $150-a-head Ramen party at the NYC Wine & Food Festival in October after the original host, model and noted turkey-hater Chrissy Teigen, had to drop out.
Kenji López-Alt, the culinary director of Serious Eats who was helping to organize the event, officially withdrew his support this week after learning organizers were replacing Teigen with Ostrovsky. He explained his distaste in a long essay posted to Facebook:
The Fat Jew is the antithesis of everything I represent in the media world. He unapologetically steals other people’s work, stripping it of the creators’ identities. He is a plagiarist, a thief, a misogynist, and absolutely the wrong choice of co-host for a food event, or really any respectable event. That it comes at a time when there’s huge media backlash against him is even more baffling to me.
As our conversations went on last week, it became clear that the festival organizers were not backing down on their decision to include him, for reasons that are not 100% clear to me.
I spent a week in conversations with Ed debating whether or not we should continue our involvement with the event. We spent a great deal of time detailing our problems with the choice of cohost to event organizers. I’ve already put in tons of time and effort into it, over 200 tickets were already sold while it was marketed as a Food Lab/SeriousEats event, and more importantly, as an event ostensibly designed to raise money for charity, I grappled with the issues of potentially leaving them in the lurch.
The Fat Jew and the types of people who are OK with promoting someone like him actively hurt the quality of good media. In the end I decided that being involved with him and the event would do more harm than good. I simply cannot see myself sharing the stage and promoting-by-association a man that thrives by stealing the efforts of serious writers and comedians, diminishing their ability to get recognized for their work and earn a living off of producing valuable content.
Later in the post, López-Alt predicted the event would “still go on” and “still be hosted by The Fat Jew”—but it’s not so clear anymore that it will. At least seven restaurants set to participate (Jin, Ivan Ramen, Mu Ramen, Sun Ramen, Yuji Ramen and Bar Chuko) and a sponsor, Sun Noodle, have reportedly pulled out.
Rough stuff! Though to be fair, maybe they don’t need food at all—just show them this horrifying video and probably no one will want to eat ever again.