Harrah’s severs ties with John Besh amid sexual harassment allegations

NEW ORLEANS — Harrah’s Casino has announced it is severing the relationship with Besh Restaurant Group following a scathing report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Harrah’s released a statement to WGNO, saying:

“The Harrah’s New Orleans management team takes the harassment allegations against the Besh Restaurant Group very seriously and to the best of our knowledge none of those allegations pertain to Besh Steak located in the Harrah’s New Orleans Casino.  It is important to note that the restaurant employees work for and are managed by Harrah’s New Orleans, not the Besh Restaurant Group. Harrah’s New Orleans maintains a robust human resources department and processes, including a toll-free anonymous ethics and compliance hotline which allows employees to report concerns and allegations.

Effective immediately, Harrah’s is terminating its relationship with the restaurant group. The restaurant will remain open under a different name to be announced soon.   It is our goal to continue providing the great food and service that our customers have come to expect.”

In the report, the restaurant group, made up of 12 acclaimed eateries, is accused of fostering an environment of sexual harassment.

During the Times-Picayune’s eight month investigation, 25 women came forward, with nine of them speaking on record.

They told the outlet “several male co-workers and bosses touched female employees without consent, made suggestive comments about their appearance and — in a few cases — tried to leverage positions of authority for sex.”

Besh’s former protege, Alon Shaya, posted a response on Facebook Saturday, saying he asked the owners of Besh Restaurant Group to “provide professional human resources support for their restaurants” on multiple occasions, but was rejected.

Shaya cooperated with the Times-Picayune investigative story and for doing so, said he was terminated as Executive Chef at Domenica, Pizza Domenica, and his namesake restaurant, Shaya.