Archive for March, 2011

Phantom Gourmet: Jackasses 3

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 03/14/2011

This post is long overdue.

On Friday, 2/25 I published a blog post including an open letter to Mike and Dan Andelman, co-owners of Phantom Gourmet, Inc., calling for a public apology for the inappropriate, sexist and deplorable comments they made on their radio show on 2/12.

For those of you who are unaware of the comments, Mike Andelman disparaged a restaurant hostess, calling her dumb, moronic and a monkey after she denied his request to be seated before the dining room opened. Mike also denigrated hostesses as incompetents who can’t do anything else in life. (The audio clip from the program can be found here.)

Dan Andelman asked Mike how the hostess looked from the back, and made other inappropriate sexist comments.

On Saturday, 2/26 Mike and Dan addressed the fallout from their comments on the radio. The program on the 26thalso marked the return of Dave Andelman who was vacationing during Mike’s encounter at the restaurant and his offensive rant on the radio. The Andelman brothers had a great opportunity to show some real class, but instead, made a mockery of the entire incident.

Some highlights and lowlights from the radio program of 2/26/11:

Dan: This is the biggest controversy that has happened in this company in a long time.

Dave goes away for 2 weeks and during that time, a, happens to be the only 2 weeks in history that a, there was a, a, a, well there was a huge controversy regarding Phantom Gourmet, this particular radio show.

Mike: There wasn’t a controversy! Danny, there was an article written about me in Names and Faces, now that is the Boston Globe’s Inside Track.

Dan: You said some remarks that were reported in the Globe.

Mike: This was not on the I-Team, ok. Joe Bergantino is not knocking on my door.

[Joe Bergantino left the I-Team in 2008…]

Dan: The Globe has never talked about us ever in 4 years. A, Dave goes away for 1 week, a, where, you know, the boss is away so Michael decides to play and Mike goes on a little bit of a rant, it catches fire, it catches the attention of Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein of the Globe and they write it up. Now Dave, you still have not heard the clip?

Dave: I have not heard the audio source…

Mike: You have not read the Pelican Brief? That’s what they’re calling it out there in the foodie community.

Dave: [Before listening to the audio.] Let me just preface this by saying I am seriously surprised that anything we would say on this show would be worthy of news in the Boston Globe. Honestly, who cares?

Dan starts to read the Globe article.

Mike: Facetious is not in quotes. I don’t even know what that means… I called David and I said, listen, give me a good word that means like jackass, always kidding around. He goes, satirical, and I’m like crap, I can’t use that in a sentence…

Dan prepares to play audio of 2/12 radio show.

Mike: Before we go to the tape Danny, can I just say 1 more thing? The reason this came out in the Globe is because Grill 23, which has to be one of the highest-grossing restaurants in the country…

Dan: Great place. Big business.

Dave: Prints money.

Mike:they [Grill 23] decided to issue a statement against what I said on this radio show, even though they didn’t hear it. They had seen a transcript of it.

[That statement is patently false. Grill 23 management did hear the audio of the 2/12 segment that was posted on the 96.9 website, then later taken down after my blog post.] 

Dave: Our family probably has collectively spent, I don’t know, 10k there over the course of the years. We’ve covered it on the show 100 times saying it’s a great place to go.

Dan: It is a great place.

Dave: Now I am a fan of Grill 23 and I think it is, honest to God, I think it is funny that they issued a statement like it was a politician that was doing crazy bad things. [To this point, Dave has still not heard the tape.]

Mike: (Reading statement from Boston Globe made by Grill 23 owners.) “Himmel Hospitality is shocked and saddened at the personal attack that has been made on an employee in such a public manner.”

I disagree with that [with what, Mike?], and respectfully, since they couldn’t figure out which employee it was. I was going to apologize, but they don’t know who it is.

Dan plays a portion of the clip of the 2/12 show when he asked how the hostess looked from behind.

(Tape is paused)

Dan: I apologize for my rude, insensitive comment about her back. [To Dan’s credit, he did sound sincere.]

Audio continues:

Mike: Danny, the fact that you consistently take the side of the restaurateur or just a really stupid maître d’  or a hostess over your family time and time again…

If the owner of Grill 23 was standing next to this dumb hostess, this moronic hostess who was just getting her, uh, jollies off by sticking to the rules of her little brochure in a little binder…This little monkey, her only job is to look at this binder and say don’t let people in ‘til 5:30.

Dan (to Dave, CEO and spokesperson): Do you think this was so controversial that it should have been in the Boston Globe? Are you offended by what Mike had to say?

Dave: [No acknowledgement of Mike’s ‘dumb’, ‘moron’ and ‘monkey’ comments.] I don’t even think it’s interesting enough for us to be replaying it on our own show. [3 brothers laughing hysterically] I’m waiting for the bomb to drop. That was it? That’s what you had to bother me for in Aruba and all week?

Therein lies the problem. By virtue of ignoring the offensive comments, and supporting his brothers, Dave now joins Mike and Dan in thinking it’s ok to make and defend disingenuous, odious remarks. So much for older and wiser…

Dan: Michael, now that we’ve heard it, do you have something to say to New England? 

Michael: I do. Number one, um, I, if I do find out who the hostess is at Grill 23, and the Boston Globe says they’re not sure who it is, ok, I’ve talked with my wife, um, I want to ask the hostess on a date. I have a hall pass if she would like to go out with me. I will take her out for dinner, for dancing…

I don’t know Danny, you are always the ombudsman of this program. Dad said something about winos, you talked about her [hostess] wearing yoga pants and I called her a moronic hostess. You tell me Danny, you’ve got the final word.

Dan: Frankly, not even in the top hundred offensive or amusing segments we’ve ever done.

Now that’s frightening. I wonder who else they have offended.

Dave: No, there’s nothing even remotely interesting about it.

Dave: They [The Globe] do sort of try to claim there’s a massive online controversy. That’s just not factually accurate. There’s like 4 guys talking to each other online, I mean that’s ridiculous.

Talk about clueless.

Dave-Click here and read all the links imbedded in the post. Tens of thousands of people have read and talked about the inappropriate, derogatory and misogynist comments made by Mike and Dan, and now they’ll be talking about your defending them.

Mike: I do apologize when I said all hostesses are moronic and stupid, and I do 100% apologize. I’m not including the average-looking ones who do a very good job. [Dan laughs hysterically.] I am only talking about the hot ones who have no idea…

Nice job making a mockery of an opportunity to do the right thing. Suffering through another 3 hours of Andelman antics on the radio confirmed how ignorant and crass they really are.

Here is Mike’s original quote from 2/12 that he was referencing:

There’s not a hostess who’s not good looking because they’re incompetent and can’t do anything else in life. If you can’t model, when you’re good looking enough and not tall enough to model, you stand behind a little box and say, “How many?”

One hour into the 2/26 program I received the following email from Heidi Raphael, VP Corporate Communications of Greater Media, Inc., the parent company of WTKK-FM where Phantom Gourmet airs. Despite its brevity, the message says it all.

“Greater Media has a great deal of respect for service industry workers and does not endorse or support the recent statements made by the Andelmans during their paid programming show on WTKK. We do not speak for them, nor do they speak for us.”

None of the hundreds of current and former restaurant industry workers who contacted me over the last few weeks is buying Mike’s childish, I was just kidding, I’m just a jackass defense. Everyone remotely involved with the restaurant community, with any credibility, understands exactly what the Andelmans are all about. Introspection and decency are lost on them. Their long-standing reputation for crassness and classless behavior has been bolstered by this incident.

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