Kitchen Nightmares Lawyers Threaten Infamous Samy And Amy If They Talk About Their Experience On The Show

from the hmmm dept

Last week we wrote about the crazy mess that followed the recent episode of the show Kitchen Nightmares on Fox, in which the star of the show, Gordon Ramsay, actually walked away from Amy's Baking Company, after the owners, Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, didn't take well to any criticism. After the episode aired, they were further mocked on Yelp and Reddit (Yelp "haters" were a key part of the episode), and there was an explosion of anger on the restaurant's Facebook page, though the couple insists they were hacked.

Following all of this, however, the restaurant announced that it was doing a grand "re-opening" today, which involved a planned press conference and a "job fair" to try to hire 30 new workers. As the show noted, the Bouzaglos apparently have difficulty keeping staff employed for very long. However, the "press conference" has been cancelled. The couple claims it had to do with death threats they received, though it might have more to do with a very different kind of threat: a legal threat from the producers of the show, as reported by RadarOnline.

Lawyers representing the producers of Kitchen Nightmares, Upper Ground Enterprises, sent the couple a letter warning them that talking about the show would be a breach of contract:
We understand that you are planning a public event on May 21, 2013, at which you will discuss your experiences and your "unflattering portrayals" on the show. If you speak about the show without Upper Ground's and Fox's prior approval, and if you disparage the show, its host, or its producers, you will breach your obligations under Paragraph 10 of your Personal Release and Paragraph 14 of your Participant Agreement. These agreements prohibit you from speaking publicly about Kitchen Nighmares, other than to acknowledge "the mere fact of your participation in the Series in personal publicity relating to yourself." Your conduct exposes each of you to liability for liquidated damages of $100,000.
Hmm. While this is a reminder to be careful about what sorts of gag clauses you sign before you do anything, it still seems like a highly questionable move by the producers. The more they seek to silence the couple, the more it suggests that perhaps the portrayal wasn't entirely fair. Meanwhile, the more the couple is allowed to stay in the news, the better one would think it would be for the TV show. The couple's actions and statements on the episode were absolutely ridiculous and clearly showed a restaurant/ownership not worth patronizing. Since then, the couple's confirmed statements (even ignoring the Facebook comments, whether or not you believe they were the result of hackers) concerning Yelp have only served to confirm that the couple can't take any criticism and seem to think that bad reviews of bad food are the world out to get them.

The decision to call out the gag order in the contract to silence them seems ridiculous by Fox. Even if the couple trashed the show (as expected), does anyone think that the couple has even the slightest credibility at this point? No one believes them. Pulling out the gag order makes the show look like it has something to hide.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Let 'em say what they want

    I believe the attitude of this wrecking crew is 'doing what they think is right, no matter what'.

    So let 'em speak and let 'em get sued by Fox and friends. If they are telling the truth, they'd have that truth as a defence....right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    TheLastCzarnian (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 10:23am

    No more Fox for me...

    Yep, I was on a Fox show. Back in the 90's, before they went psycho.
    No, I won't be on another one. I hope others feel the same.

    Good luck doing reality shows when real people won't work with you for fear of litigation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Doug D (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 10:23am

    Re: Let 'em say what they want

    I don't think you could use "truth as a defense" if Fox sued. The key term is "disparage the show" and they would be sued under breach of contract, which isn't the same as defamation. But then I'm not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV.

    As far as it being a good decision to trot out the gag order,this is the same Fox that wigged out about non-licensed Jayne hats so I'm convinced they really don't understand publicity or want a fan base.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 10:24am

    I believe Kitchen Nightmares has been sued before by someone who claimed that the show's production staff created some of the problems at the restaurants just so that Chef Ramsey could look good fixing them.

    With the couple of episodes I've seen of the show I wouldn't be surprised if that was somewhat true. Since two of them had kitchens/storage rooms so filthy you had to ask "they've been able to pass health inspections how exactly?".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Joshua Bardwell (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 10:25am

    If I had to guess, the reason for the quash is that the producers don't want details of the show's production to be revealed. Everybody knows that the producers of these shows edit things together and otherwise manipulate the outcome, but kind of like pro wrestling used to be--we all kind of ignore it in the interest of being entertained. If details of the manipulation come out, such as, "the producers planted those spoiled veggies," or what-have-you, it may ruin the viewer's ability to suspend disbelief. Even though Amy has zero credibility, reality show producers aren't exactly high on the list of trustworthy people, and the things she may reveal may ring true enough to hurt the show.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Joshua Bardwell (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 10:27am

    Re:

    ... for example, what if it was revealed that all of the patrons in the dinner services were actually paid actors who had been prepped to either like or dislike the foot? How would that affect one's enjoyment of the show?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 10:29am

    Since two of them had kitchens/storage rooms so filthy you had to ask "they've been able to pass health inspections how exactly?".

    Probably through a negligent or understaffed/overworked state health department.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 10:31am

    Such gag agreements should be illegal. They're only understandable when they apply to talking about the show before the air date. But saying "you can't say anything about the show except that you were in it" and "you can't disparage the show or anyone associated with it" has zero societal benefit, and causes societal harm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re:

    The show is pretty upfront about the dinner services being more crowded than usual because "word that Gordon Ramsay is in the restaurant has gotten out." I don't suspect that the diners are hired, but they are probably more selective in their tastes than the usual clientele at these restaurants, being Gordon Ramsay fans and all. Or perhaps they're just more inclined to complain, being Gordon Ramsay fans and all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    crade (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Either way, evidence that reality shows are rigged doesn't seem to really affect the people who like them much..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 11:02am

    So they can't talk about the show WHILE Disparaging the Show, Host or Producers. And they agreed to this.

    If they want they can talk about the show while NOT Disparaging the show, without issue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re:

    I don't know about Kitchen Nightmares, but Hell's Kitchen IS a bunch of out of work actors and family/friends of people on the staff. There is no actual Hell's Kitchen restaurant, it's just part of a TV recording studio.

    That's why some of them seem like they're there just to make a big enough fuss to get themselves on TV, because they are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Touch it!!!

    Its RAW!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    500 bucks in an envelope doesnt hurt either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Fushta (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    I don't know about Kitchen Nightmares, but Hell's Kitchen IS a bunch of out of work actors and family/friends of people on the staff. There is no actual Hell's Kitchen restaurant, it's just part of a TV recording studio.

    That's why some of them seem like they're there just to make a big enough fuss to get themselves on TV, because they are.


    I've always thought this was true. It's like they raid the out-of-work (or over-aged) modeling agencies in LA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 11:54am

    Re: No more Fox for me...

    They don't need real people, they have all their viewers and the GOP to draw from.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 11:54am

    I was at a taping for Kitchen Nightmares and I didn't see anything set up that I was aware of. In fact, the producers wanted to make sure that people weren't just going to send stuff back, just to be on camera and talked about that before service started. So, to me, it seemed like they were trying to keep it more realistic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "There is no actual Hell's Kitchen restaurant"

    There was never purported to be one, at least in the UK version.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah. That, too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    MissingFrame, May 21st, 2013 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If it wasn't rigged it would be called a documentary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Let 'em say what they want

    Truth isn't a defense to breach of contract, only to libel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    davnel, May 21st, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    Re: No more Fox for me...

    There's always some idiot who cares more about "being on TV" than the contents of some document they had to sign, didn't understand a single word of, and therefore didn't care. There'll always be fodder for such shows.
    .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Yeah Right, May 21st, 2013 @ 2:52pm

    Having worked on similar shows, I am pretty sure that the production company has plenty of things to hide.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    horse with no name, May 21st, 2013 @ 5:45pm

    You don't get it

    I think they are playing all of you including the media at this point. Both sides are getting plenty of attention, and I can bet that kitchen nightmares is now a very popular topic of discussion.

    It's funny when the guy who apparently coined the Steisand effect is in fact getting played in the same way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 5:56pm

    Re: You don't get it

    Attention or otherwise isn't the point of this discussion. The point is someone acting stupid (irresponsible posts on Facebook, in this case) and then attempting to draw attention away from it. People will discuss it but not for the reasons they'd like to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 7:14pm

    Re: Touch it!!!

    You takin' the piss?

    It's so simmm-pollllll!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 8:25pm

    Re: You don't get it

    "Meanwhile, the more the couple is allowed to stay in the news, the better one would think it would be for the TV show."

    Reading is hard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    horse with no name, May 21st, 2013 @ 11:04pm

    Re: Re: You don't get it

    They still don't get it - I wouldn't be shocked if this was set up to specifically go viral. You know, not an accident, but a planned issue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2013 @ 4:58am

    Re: Re: Re: You don't get it

    That's still got fuck all to do with the "Steisand[sic]" effect. Are you sure you know what it is? Maybe the wikipedia article will help.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Corwin (profile), May 22nd, 2013 @ 5:08am

    ROTFLMAO

    This is so funny ... A media company that wants to shut up the people that THEY talk about?

    Free speech, yeah right

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2013 @ 3:12pm

    After hearing the things my kids try to pawn off on me as excuses...

    I always wondered that if those 2 were in some kind of 'gangster/mob boss' type trouble, and if they keep themselves in the limelight, maybe they won't get bumped off and not thought twice about.

    However, if they are well known accross the country, the hit men wouldn't dare expose themselves to this much pagentry.

    Naa...they are just a couple of old people determined not to just 'fade away as a nobody'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    click here, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:07am

    Would that be an obsession inside the kitchen?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Modular kitchen South India, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 12:35am

    The main feature in almost any type of kitchen will certainly be the cabinetries, which is crucial and first step to begin cooking area. Many of the purchasers never ever consider the closet part, because they don't see the closets behind the shutters whatsoever. You cooking area style and format by Modular Kitchens Bangalore will totally based upon the closets you are going to have in your kitchen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 8:14pm

    Re: Re: No more Fox for me...

    Shove your political babble where the sun don't shine.. Like you're a "real"person!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This