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Reactions to McNally’s Essay About the ‘Easier’ Days of Running Restaurants

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Some people are upset over the famed restaurateur's remarks about sexual harassment policies in restaurants

The most surprising part of Keith McNally’s essay for the Times about how restaurants have changed over his career is the Balthazar restaurateur’s musing on sexual harassment in the workplace. After writing that "restaurants were easier to build and a whole lot more fun in 1980 than they are today," McNally bluntly notes that "health and safety laws weren’t as stringent as they are now, and neither was the law protecting employees from sexual harassment."  After noting that he met two of his wives in restaurants, Keith also writes: "[I]t's difficult not to be anything but fully supportive of a system that protects employees from harassment. But, remembering what it was like to be in my 20s, I believe it's also important not to throw out the baby with the bathwater."

Although many chefs and industry people have celebrated McNally's Times essay —which also includes his thoughts on the difficulties of doing business in NYC, and the changing tastes of diners — a number of restaurateurs and members of the food media have also expressed their frustrations over the comments about sexual politics and harassment. Cookbook author/fromager Tia Keenan took to Twitter yesterday afternoon:

Anonymous food media commentator ShitFoodBlogger has a few thoughts as well:

Canadian restaurateur Jen Agg chimes in

Business Insider's Linette Lopez also comments:

If you have any thoughts on Keith's rant or the reactions to it, please share them in the comments.

In other McNally news, his new restaurant Augustine opens tonight in the Beekman Hotel, and he says that he's going to start work on the revival of Pastis in March.

All Coverage of Keith McNally [ENY]


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