Guy Fieri is known across the world as the fun, rambunctious host of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The celebrity host and restaurateur has grown to be adored by many, and considering the $21 million he raised for restaurant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s no stranger to giving back. And despite criticism from some of his peers on everything from his taste in clothing to his cooking skills, Fieri has managed to avoid much controversy in the course of his 15-year career in the spotlight.
Fieri’s stardom began in 2006 when he won the Food Network show, Next Food Network Star. Since then, he’s starred in several different food and cooking shows and created a Flavortown empire with over 75 restaurants across the world and millions of fans and followers.
But spending that long in the public eye is bound to result in a public blowout or two — and mystical as he may be, even Fieri can’t escape this fate. Many of these incidents happened many years ago — since then, it seems to be smooth sailing for the Mayor of Flavortown. But from allegedly homophobic comments to restaurant flops, Fieri’s record is far from clean.
Guy Fieri faced accusations of homophobia
In 2011, David Page, former Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives producer, might have outed Guy Fieri, his former boss, as a homophobe, among other offenses. Page alleged that Fieri once left a restaurant because it was owned by a gay couple. Page told Minnesota’s City Pages he once received a call from the frosted tipped celebrity after he stormed off the set.
"He said, ‘You can’t send me to talk to gay people without warning!’ Those people weird me out!’" Page told the paper (via HuffPost).
Fieri’s team insisted that the rumors were fabricated. "He’s a standup guy who does right by people," a spokesperson replied.
Unfortunately, another Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives crew member contradicted this statement and sided with Page.
"…it’s just well-known to me among the crew that Guy has a problem — if there was a homosexual in a restaurant, as the main character, the shoot went different," said Kari Kloster, a former field producer of the show, in City Pages (via HuffPost).
Fieri’s celebrity status has protected him from many scandals, but even his team of all-star publicists couldn’t quite keep his prejudices under wraps.
Guy Fieri might have been a terrible boss
In Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Guy Fieri seems like the kind of guy you’d want to hang out with on a Saturday night — he’s fun, down-to-earth, and always knows where to find the best burger. But according to former staffers of the show, Fieri’s TV persona could be deceiving.
According to a former production worker interviewed by Chowhound, not only was Fieri known for homophobia and inappropriate jokes around women, he was also a bit of a tyrant when it came to employees of his show.
"Fieri had ridiculous requests at all hours of the day," said the former employee. He demanded his employees work late into the night and wouldn’t accept plane tickets with certain airlines he disliked. Despite the crew’s busy schedule, Fieri would rearrange shoots because he had to get his hair coiffed and properly frosted. "I don’t think anyone actually liked him." The production worker ended up leaving the television industry altogether because of her experience with Fieri.
Guy Fieri and Anthony Bourdain once sparred
It’s unclear what exactly Guy Fieri ever did to Anthony Bourdain, but Bourdain was decidedly not a Flavortown groupie. Back in 2012, Bourdain mocked Fieri’s new Times Square restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, on an episode of radio show Opie and Anthony, calling it a "terror-dome" and claiming Fieri had "single handedly turned the neighborhood into the Ed Hardy district" (via Eater). Apparently, Bourdain also made fun of Fieri when his yellow Lamborghini was stolen, according to GQ.
Fieri, however, did not go down without a fight. "I don’t like him making fun of people, and I don’t like him talking s***," he told GQ. "It’s just, What are you doing? What is your instigation? You have nothing else to f***ing worry about than if I have bleached hair or not? I mean, f***."
Unfortunately, the two never reconciled before Bourdain’s untimely death in 2018. Their vastly different approaches to life and cooking made them the kind of comic book rivals one could only dream to encounter in reality.
Guy Fieri apparently can’t stop himself from making inappropriate jokes
Fieri doesn’t often experience bad press, but when the Minneapolis-based City Pages, released a deep dive of Fieri’s dark side in 2011, it revealed much about the celebrity chef that diehard fans couldn’t believe. Not only was Fieri accused of homophobia by his former producer, David Page, but the Food Network star also faced alleged sexual harassment claims.
Page told City Pages that "anytime any woman mentioned ‘cream,’ Guy went into a sexual riff" (via Gothamist). Though no women corroborated Page’s claims, they didn’t stop at jokes. Page also stated that Fieri had a habit of staring at women’s breasts when the cameras were off. "When cutting the show, you had to tell the editors to watch Guy’s eye line, because it’s always on breasts."
Apparently Fieri also had a particular penchant for bathroom humor. "You have to protect Guy from all of his poop jokes," said Page. Come on, Guy, we’re eating here.
Guy Fieri’s New York restaurant was infamously terrible
In 2012, Fieri opened his Times Square restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, only to be met by ridicule by the New York Times’ restaurant reviewer, Pete Wells. The restaurant was massive — it could seat 500 people, and the menu, according to Wells, was overwhelming in its descriptions of food that did not quite measure up in flavor.
Despite Fieri’s success as a television star, his restaurant ended up being a flop. Wells’ funny but eviscerating review of Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar was only the beginning of the restaurant’s uphill battle. Apparently, most of the general public shared Wells’ disappointment in the measly sizes of dishes, the radioactive hues of drinks, and the overcrowded atmosphere. In 2017, just about five years after its grand opening, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar shut down. Despite Fieri’s best efforts, it turns out there’s no Flavortown in Times Square.
Guy Fieri got in a fist fight with his hairdresser
In 2013, TMZ released released shocking footage of Fieri and his hairdresser, Ariel Ramirez, in the middle of an intense fistfight. In the video, you can see Ramirez punch Fieri as the celebrity chef gets into his car and tries to close the door. Fieri kicks Ramirez, and all the while, Ramirez is crying and shouting curse words repeatedly.
The fight was explosive, but when TMZ looked further into the situation, they didn’t come up with much. "It was just dudes being dudes," said an unnamed source close to Fieri. Apparently, Fieri and his hairdresser had just gotten off a long flight where they’d been drinking. Instead of carpooling together, Fieri kicked Ramirez out of the car and told him to find a cab.
The good news is, apparently the dynamic duo are quick to forgive. One of Fieri’s representatives told TMZ that the incident was nothing more than just a few guys "messing around. Things got a little out of hand, but they’re all good now."
Guy Fieri’s restaurants might have bad hygiene
Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, Fieri’s Times Square restaurant, had bad luck from the start — and it never got much better. When the restaurant first opened, Pete Wells published a devastating takedown of the Flavortown hot spot; just a few years later, in 2016, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar received a B rating from the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, according to Radar.
Though a B may not have been such a bad grade when you were in high school, just wait until you hear the inspector’s rationale: "Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas." Fieri’s employees were also chastised for failing to wear gloves when handling food.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time Fieri’s restaurant received a low grade due to unwanted vermin. In 2015, it was cockroaches. It’s probably best the restaurant closed before the rats had a chance to move in.