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What #MeToo means for the restaurant industry

The restaurant industry has a frenetic, unconventional atmosphere that many people love — but it's also particularly open to harassment and abuse.

by VICE News
Feb 25 2018, 3:13pm

It’s been 133 days since Harvey Weinstein was outed as a serial abuser and harasser of women. Nearly every day since that story broke, more men in more professions have been accused of, admitted to, or denied shocking acts of aggression, exploitation, harassment, and prejudice toward women in the workplace.

No company is immune — including VICE. It has affected our workplace too.

Here and everywhere, people are doing what they always do to make sense of things: talking. To capture the kinds of conversations happening in America’s workplaces, we gathered lawyers, actors, technologists, construction workers, and hospitality workers, and asked them about the new reality of #MeToo: Women, Men, and Work.

Late nights and close quarters give the restaurant industry a frenetic, unconventional atmosphere that many employees love — but that also makes it particularly open to harassment and abuse.

In recent months, the industry has been grappling with the consequences of this dynamic as its own Harvey Weinsteins were toppled. Celebrity chefs Mario Batali and John Besh stepped down from their restaurant empires after multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Ten women came forward against restaurateur Ken Friedman, who allegedly maintained a free-for-all party after-hours in what employees dubbed the "rape room" at his New York restaurant, The Spotted Pig.

VICE News’ Elle Reeve went to Charleston to hear from four restaurant professionals — Megan Deschaine, April Robinson, Cynthia Wong, and Isabella MacBeth — about how the restaurant industry is reckoning with its treatment of women.

This segment originally aired on February 15, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.