Sydney Morning Herald magazine Good Weekend is facing heat from angry Twitter users for running what some are calling a “puff piece” on embattled celebrity chef George Calombaris.
He came under fire earlier this week when the Fair Work Ombudsman revealed Calombaris would be slapped with a $200,000 fine after it was found his restaurant had underpaid staff by $7.8 million.
It prompted ex-staff of his to come forward and petition for Network Ten to take Calombaris off the popular reality TV cooking show MasterChef, of which Calombaris is a judge.
So, when copies of the Good Weekend magazine hit stands on Saturday morning, people took to Twitter to express their outrage about his portrait on the cover with words arranged in a halo around his head given recent events.
The feature explored the impacts of stress on the mental health of chefs, and included a section about Calombaris who had “become evangelical about meditation”.
Calombaris became drawn to meditation after he was hit by two scandals in a row in 2017, one which involved revelations about underpaying staff – the same underpayments that came to light earlier this week.
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Twitter users were not impressed by the cover.
So @smh decides to run a puff piece on George Calombaris in the same week he's been found guilty of grossly underpaying staff? Incredibly disrespectful to the workers who've been ripped off by him.— Louise D'Arcens (@ArcensD) July 20, 2019
my biggest concern is that ‘he meditates’ was the best Calombaris’ PR could come up with— henno (@jrhennessy) July 20, 2019
Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, joined in the fray.
Morrison’s “Ensuring Integrity” Bill would enable a union to be shut down & its leaders sacked for breaking the same laws as George Calombaris. I don’t see George’s restaurants being shut down. He won’t even be kicked off #MasterChefAU— Sally McManus 🦅 (@sallymcmanus) July 17, 2019
Others argued that it should be Calombaris’ underpaid staff, not the chef, who should be splashed on front covers.
Some called into question the judgement of running the piece given what had happened.
Deplorable and insensitive cover on today’s issue of @GoodWeekendMag after George Calombaris was handed a $200k fine for stealing $8million from workers wages. An absolute slap in the face to those he stole from. It’s an insult and an affront to the senses. pic.twitter.com/Yi7QvM0Cbf— Mr Genghis (@Genghis_Dong) July 20, 2019
Magazine went to print before Fair Work ruling, says Good Weekend editor
In a post on Instagram, Good Weekend editor Katrina Strickland indicated that the magazine had gone to print before news of Fair Work’s ruling broke.
Strickland added in a statement that the feature has since been updated online, The Guardian reported.
“The current issue of Good Weekend was sent to print late last week, ahead of the Fair Work ruling.
“While we have updated the online version of the cover story to reflect recent events, the story itself is about a much broader topic – mental health – of which George was a part of but not the sole focus.”
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