Bravo's Legal department advised us of the Top Chef rules, which stated that harming or threatening to harm other contestants was potential grounds for disqualification. According to these guidelines, it was clear that Cliff needed to go. I was sent to the Chef's loft to deliver the news that he was no longer welcome on the show.Hmmm, let's see. So they were worried about a contractual violation, a breach of the duties in the contracts contestants sign to be on the reality shows and that provide "potential grounds for disqualification" (emphasis added). But no one seems to have thought about something other than civil law.
To wit, California Penal Code sections 240 ("An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another."), 241(a) ("An assault is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment."), 242 ("A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another."), and 243(a) ("A battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment."). In addition, California recognizes the crime of conspiracy to commit assault or battery (Penal Code section 182(a)(1)).
As it was, the video footage looked like an outtake from Oz, so perhaps it wouldn't have been such a stretch. Still, one would think that Cliff Crooks wouldn't like to honor the family name in this particular way (and, indeed, he has of late been making the rounds on the Isaiah Washington Apology Circuit).