I don’t know Trey Chapman. I’ve met him and have seen him at events, and I know he has a significant following and lots of friends in the Fort Worth restaurant world. I didn’t initially see it when the noted food blogger/vlogger/brand ambassador behind Trey’s Chow Down made a body-shaming Facebook post about women wearing yoga pants in public. (He claimed his comment wasn’t directed at women and that it applied to men who also wear yoga pants.) He later said he was sorry for his post, though in his apology he didn’t really acknowledge any wrongdoing. Therefore, it rang pretty hollow to lots of people.
Being a tone-deaf misogynist isn’t a crime, and Chapman is allowed to say whatever he wants on his social media channels or anywhere else. But what he has characterized as a harmless joke created a social media brushfire. After his comment metastasized throughout various closed Facebook groups, multiple women accused Chapman of harassment and gave personal accounts to me of what they believe are inappropriate behaviors. The Weekly doesn’t want that associated with our brand, so we cut ties with Chapman, who was to be a co-host of our Third Annual Celebrity Chili Cook-Off on Sun, Mar 4, in front of the Tin Panther (937 Woodward St, 817-720-6868).
It’s never been OK to body shame or demean women, but until the recent #metoo movement and the feminist awakening in our country, that kind of behavior had been quietly tolerated –– especially in the service industry.
As someone who worked in the restaurant business for more than 20 years, I’ve seen women endure everything from groping and unwanted aggressive advances to name-calling and physical bullying by kitchen workers and waitstaff. I’ve witnessed countless customers who have objectified and abused servers – folks whose livelihoods depend on tips – and egomaniac owners and managers who humiliate women by toying with schedules and pay. Sure, that sort of thing happens to men, too. But the comparison isn’t even close. And if you’re the sort of person who thinks that women open themselves up to harassment by dressing nicely or a little provocatively, well, let’s be honest. You’re probably not a big reader and haven’t made it this far – but, please, feel free to leave a vicious but half-baked comment on our Facebook page.
Restaurants wear their rough-and-tumble subculture as a badge of honor. All kinds of bad behaviors are written off as a byproduct of creative people working under tremendous stress. But maybe that’s not good enough anymore. The #metoo movement is working. There’s little doubt that had this happened a year ago, Chapman would still be associated with our event.
I hope to see you at the Chili Cook-Off. Bring the friends, bring the family, come as you are. Wear whatever you want. Including yoga pants.