Good Eats Alton Brown is a chef, a showman, and an enthusiast for fire. Followers on Twitter learned that he may make jokes about the Holocaust.
Good Eats Alton Brown is many things: a chef, a showman, and an enthusiast for fire. Followers on Twitter learned that he may make jokes about the Holocaust when he’s drunk. That speaks of an aura of antisemitism. That caused many people to view him in a new light, even after he posted a public apology and controversy has been brewing since. His show producers have so far not commented on the situation.
Brown is best known for the reality show Cutthroat Kitchen, serving as a host as players sabotage each other by making them wear handcuffs or astronaut suits. He felt that shows that were on television in his younger years did not have cooking standards up to his par, so we worked to create ones that did. In the middle of the pandemic, Brown took to YouTube as production on Good Eats was delayed and delivered with Pantry Kitchen and Quarantine Quitchen. The name may not make sense alliteratively, but it was a hit as people were at home.
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According to Eater.com, Brown established on Twitter that he normally “votes” Republican but has been disgusted with how the GOP is trying to steal the 2020 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of referring to “very fine people,” the same wording used after Heather Heyer was murdered in Charlottesville by white supremacists. Newsweek then picked up the story, referring to Brown as a Republican. Brown lambasted them on Twitter to make a retraction. It seemed the matter would blow over since the rule is that on Twitter, when you don’t post, another controversy will emerge and distract from you. That didn’t happen; on Wednesday night, Brown continued to ask if people would be tossed into camps, and how would their uniforms look. He said that he wasn’t joking and continued to rant about it, noting that Trump is a fascist and will ruin the country if he refuses to concede the election to Joe Biden. Also, Brown mentioned he doesn’t have gold fillings, another reference to people who lost them in the Holocaust. Brown has since deleted the tweets and apologized.
The ultimate question is why did Brown post this on Twitter, especially when inebriated? He was doing so well on a kinky television show with penalties that include shackles and handcuffs. What’s more, people admire his courage and daring nature, as well as his willingness to show stuff on cooking shows that you wouldn’t see with Julia Child. Viewers on social media expressed their disappointment, especially with the casual admittance of Brown’s Republican ties. Others mentioned the red flags were seeing him in person, especially his attitude towards the Second Amendment.
While Brown may have had good intentions, Holocaust jokes are never acceptable in a culture where entitled people deny that it even happened. (Erin Gruwell of Freedom Writers fame can attest to this, given by the number of death threats that she received.) It can feel like a betrayal to people whose families were in the camps, including those who didn’t survive. Brown alienated the people that he was trying to reference: targeted minorities. The fact that this needs repeating about the Holocaust says volumes about those who make quips.
As a lesson, don’t post on Twitter while drunk, especially when you are a celebrity. Time will tell if this melee and tastelessness will hurt Brown in the long run. While it seems unlikely due to the rapidity of his apology and the onslaught of news, readers are advised to stay alert. He certainly did hurt others, however, with his remarks, and needs to do more than provide apologies. Brown ought to take a social media break, donate to some relevant organizations, and watch his words a bit more. Making change happen means watching what you say, especially in a public forum.
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