Food Network's Guy Fieri on Gays: "Those people weird me out!"
**UPDATE AT BOTTOM**
Is this a case of a homophobic host whose image has been kept pristine by the wholesome Food Network, or a pissed-off producer who's getting revenge for being fired?
That's the looming question from a new City Pages article. The piece is about Guy Fieri, the boisterous, big spirited (and bodied) "guy's guy" host of the NBC game show Minute to Win It and Food Network's popular program Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Each episode of "Triple D" as Fieri calls it, features the spiky-haired, rock 'n' roll chef—who got the hosting gig after winning the network's competition show The Next Food Network Star— introducing three different down-home eateries. It's as all-American as you can get, but former Triple D producer and show creator, David Page, claims that things weren't as cool as Fieri portrayed on that show.
According to the article, Page's contract was recently renewed for a couple more seasons but then "Fieri stopped showing up for scheduled shoots. He canceled voice-over sessions. Page tried to herd his host, but Fieri wouldn't return the producer's calls. Then Food Network officials told Page they were taking the reins from him." Page remembers Food Network general manager Bob Tuschman, who himself is gay and was one of Out's 100 Most Eligible Bachelors, reportedly said Fieri "demanded" it.
Since then Page has sued the network for breach of contract, then Food Network did a counterclaim alleging that Page mistreated staff. So now Page is going public with all the crazy stuff Fieri did as his fame rose on the network. How the producers needed to teach Fieri tact in certain communities, tone down his poop jokes, stop his sexual riffs if a woman mentioned "cream," heard him make statements like "Jews are cheap," and watch his eye lines during editing because he was always checking out women's breasts.
If the reports are true—and the article does state "Fieri declined to comment for this story through his spokespeople."—Fiera also needed protection from the gays. The story says:
Fieri also needed protection from homosexuals, or at least advance warning. Early in the show's run, Page got a phone call from Fieri, who'd just walked out of a restaurant in a huff.
"Guy had decided that the two men running the restaurant were life partners," Page remembers. "He said, 'You can't send me to talk to gay people without warning! Those people weird me out!'"
From then on, show researchers were required to note any indications of homosexuality detected during pre-interviews. Former field producer Kari Kloster, who is now a vice president at Page Productions, confirmed that Fieri made the odd demand about gay guests, and says she witnessed the star become more controlling on set.
Food Network declined to address Page's allegations about Fieri's behavior for this story, but Vice President of Communications and Public Relations Irika Slavin denied the network removed Page at Fieri's request.
"Guy Fieri is and always has been a consummate professional, and we look forward to continuing our work with him," Slavin says in a prepared statement. "Our lawsuit with Page Productions has settled and we will have no further comment about it."
Real the whole rundown in City Page's story "Guy Fieri in Diners, Drive-Ins, and Disasters."