Tuesday, January 30, 2007

In the Wake of Florida Court Decision, Future of "Top Chef"'s Miami-Based Third Season in Doubt

When we heard that Bravo had renewed Top Chef for a third season, and would be filming it in Miami, a series of thoughts floated like soap bubbles past the windmills of our mind.

First, we thought to ourselves, Oh goody, we won't be at a loss for material.

And then Miss XaXa said, "Miami, eh? Bravo must be counting on history repeating itself. Remember Flora, and Dan Renzi, and the whole Mike-spanks-Melissa-in-the-shower controversy that was The Real World - Miami? Now that an African-American castmember has been kicked off the L.A. season for 'physically touching' another cast member, where else were they going to go? New York?"

To which we said, "Oh yes, David and Tammy, how could we forget? Well, maybe the criminal laws are just more lax in Florida than in California."

Alas, the news is not good for potential Top Chef contestants looking to commit assault and battery. Just look at this story from the Associated Press:
Frat Brothers Get Prison for Paddling Pledge

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 30)
- Two fraternity brothers who paddled a pledge with wooden canes received a two-year prison term each Monday from a judge who said she wanted to send a message with the state's first prosecution under a felony hazing law.

Florida A&M University students Michael Morton, 23, of Fort Lauderdale, and Jason Harris, 25, of Jacksonville, were led from the courtroom in handcuffs, as was Harris' lawyer, Richard Keith Alan II, who was charged with indirect criminal contempt.

The students were charged with hazing Marcus Jones, 20, of Decatur, Ga., who suffered a broken ear drum and severe bruising to his buttocks after he was punched and struck with wooden canes.

Circuit Judge Kathleen Dekker said that one year might have been sufficient to punish Morton and Harris but that she added a second year to make sure that their sentences serve as a deterrent.

A jury in December convicted both under the new law, which makes it a felony to participate in hazing that results in serious bodily injury.

They could have from 12 months to five years under sentencing guidelines.

It was the second trial for Morton, Harris and three other Kappa Alpha Psi members. The first jury was unable to reach a verdict for any of the five defendants after raising questions about serious bodily injury, which is not defined in the law. The second jury also was unable to reach a verdict for the other three defendants, and they are to be tried a third time in March.


Anonymous said...

Florida A&M is about 98% black. Obviously, the verdict was racist.

More to the point, why would they have two of the first three seasons in three of the worst restaurant towns in America?

And, why, this season, did they have no fewer than THREE cheftestants who work in what may be the worst restaurant city in the civilized world, Las Vegas?

Vegas is a culinary monstrosity where every diner complaint is assumed to be the result of a bad night at the poker table/roulette wheel. Most profit-and-diner-oriented restaurants won't even hire someone who's worked in Vegas.

Anonymous said...

interesting. you should email the directors/producers of top chef the details to this case.

i would love to read the contract each of the chefs must sign to be on the show. can marcel sue the show or the individuals that played this "prank" on him? or does it take away his legal right to sue?

Anonymous said...

The contestants waive the right to sue anyone related to the program, inlcuding the network and other contestants. The contract is iron-clad.

Keith Michael from "Project Runway" posted a copy of the BRAVO contract on another blog. BRAVO clearly stipulates that the contestants give up any legal rights.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 1:45:
well, duh, isn’t EVERY A&M in the Southeast 98% black?? And since the victim in this heinous act is an African-American, how can you consider the verdict racist? I say justice was served. If the victim was Caucasian, you MIGHT have an argument, under these circumstances, you are plain wrong.

FYI, as you seem to be the only living creature in this Country to not be aware of this fact: San Francisco is one of the BEST restaurant cities in the US. What rock have you been hiding under?

Anonymous said...

Touchy touchy. The comment about racism was a joke. The comment about 2 of the 3 cities being among the 3 worst in America referred to Los Angeles and Miami. The second "three" in the sentence should have been replaced by "two" Oops.

San Francisco is managing to cling to a position somewhere in the top 25. If you believe it to be still in the top Five, I suggest you take a long walk. And don't repeat Lot's wife's mistake.

To clarify, among cities of significant size, the bottom three are 1) Las Vegas. 2) Philadelphia ( the city of brotherly love-handles). 3) Los Angeles (home turf of "Chef" Betty Fraser)

The underlying problem in all three are almost insurmountable barriers to new competition for the meager handful of decent profitably-run existing restaurants.

The three most competitive restaurant markets in the Nation are 1) NYC. 2) Tampa Bay. 3) San Diego.

If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere.

Anonymous said...

How in God's name can you compare hitting someone with wooden sticks and breaking an eardrum to what happened with Cliff and Marcel? Not even close.

Anonymous said...

thanks anon 10:45. i didn't see the contract that keith posted. interesting.