The creator and former producer of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, which stars Next Food Network Star winner Guy Fieri, says the star of his show is guilty of homophobic, sexist, and anti-Semitic behavior.
Producer David Page, who created the show, sued the network for breach of contract earlier this year because he says the network tried to replace him and cancelled orders for two seasons of the show. After filing a countersuit in which Food Network said Page violated his contract and mistreated staff (sending e.mail messages that said things such as, “I hope you die so I can dance on your fucking grave”), the lawsuit was settled in August. Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is now produced by Denver-based Citizen Pictures.
Now, Page is criticizing Fieri and detailing his behavior. As OC weekly notes, “These allegations feel like revenge over a lost lawsuit from an equally giant tool that lost control of his show and his star.”
But at least one other producer does back up some of Page’s claims, which are detailed in a fascinating in-depth profile of Page in City Pages.
First, the two men can be complimentary toward one another. Fieri calls Page “a true TV visionary” in his book Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and Page said Fieri “has probably the most natural talent of any performer I’ve ever worked with.” But Page says that when Guy started filming Minute to Win It, he started canceling shoots for the Food Network series. “Almost everyone who becomes a star in television develops an abnormal sense of self. In the worst-case scenario, they become surrounded by sycophants who tell them everything they want to hear,” he told the paper.
Page said that Guy made sexist comments about women (“When cutting the show, you had to tell the editors to watch Guy’s eye line, because it’s always on breasts.”) and also was freaked out by gay people. At one shoot, Page says, “Guy had decided that the two men running the restaurant were life partners. He said, ‘You can’t send me to talk to gay people without warning! Those people weird me out!’”
The paper reports that “Former field producer Kari Kloster confirms that Fieri made the odd demand about gay guests, and says she witnessed the star become more controlling on set,” and that after the incident Page described, “show researchers were required to note any indications of homosexuality detected during pre-interviews.”
The paper also details a dispute over profit from books related to the show, and Page said for a second book, Fieri wanted material for the book from producers. Page said, “They were demanding tremendous research from my people, and pictures, but they didn’t want to pay for them. Guy said to me: ‘You know, it’s true: Jews are cheap.’”