George Calombaris has lost a major endorsement deal with WA tourism, after news broke last week that his restaurant empire had underpaid staff by $7.8 million.
The Masterchef judge was the face of WA tourism’s latest food and wine advertisement campaign that has been running for the past few weeks, however advertisements featuring Calombaris have now been taken down from social media and are no longer shown on television.
The campaign which promotes Western Australia as a place to “design your own gourmet escape,” began earlier this month and was schedule to air until the end of September.
“George Calombaris was a small part of a Tourism WA campaign encouraging people to visit the areas of the State that featured in the recent WA Week on Masterchef Australia,” a Tourism WA spokesperson told Yahoo Finance.
“Given the recent community response due to Mr Calombaris’ issues with the Fair Work Commission we have paused the parts of the campaign that have featured him and we’re speaking with his management. This campaign is just part of what we’re doing to promote the state,” the spokesperson continued.
After news of the underpayment scandal broke last, Calombaris apologised and attributed the massive underpayments as an error. The Fair Work Ombudsman fined the celebrity chef and his Made Establishment company $200,000 and is ordered to backpay 515 employees $7.8 million in wages and superannuation.
This isn’t the first time Calombaris has been in trouble with the law and underpaying stuff. In response more than 20,000 people have signed a petition calling on the popular reality television series MasterChef to fire Calombaris, however in a statement released by Network 10, they clearly state that they stand by him.
“George and Made Establishment have reached an agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman in relation to this matter. George has the support of Network Ten. We will not be making any further comment,” a Network 10 spokesperson stated.