Geoffrey Zakarian has become the second high profile celebrity chef in two days to back out of a Donald Trump hotel slated for Washington DC.
Citing Trump’s controversial statements on Mexican immigrants as the reason behind the withdrawal, Zakarian's announcement came just a day after renowned chef Jose Andres cancelled plans to open a flagship restaurant at the future hotel; now a Republican presidential candidate, Trump said in a campaign speech that some Mexican immigrants brought drugs and crime, including rape, to the US.
According to Associated Press, Zakarian, who hosts the Food Network's "The Kitchen" and is a judge on "Chopped", said Trump’s statements “do not in any way align” with his personal core values.
A spokeswoman for Trump hotels said in a statement afterwards that “Zakarian's foolish decision will be his loss”, AP reported.
Andres called Trump’s statements about immigrants “disparaging”, making it “impossible for my company and I to move forward”. A Spanish immigrant and recently converted US citizen, Andres said more than half of his team and many of his guests were Hispanic.
Meanwhile, local leaders gathered in Washington Thursday to lead a protest against Trump outside the historic DC building the real estate mogul is turning into the luxury hotel, the Washington Times reported.
Despite a barrage of criticism, Trump hasn’t apologized for his comments, forcing many organisations to cut ties with the presidential candidate.
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