The former employees of Nusret Gökçe, or more popularly known as Salt Bae, have accused the social media sensation as a "tip thief" that has a "God complex and condemned him for both discriminating against staff and practising a "hypermasculine" work culture across his restaurants.
A court case with nine former employees and seven lawsuits has seen the former butcher accused of stealing his employees' wages, discrimination, and creating a hostile environment.
After becoming an internet meme in 2017 for sprinkling salt on to some meat, he now owns 22 restaurants, including in Mykonos, and has a net worth of $70 million.
The "masculine culture" was fuelled by instances of sexual and racial discrimination, it has been claimed, including ordering female staff members to wear revealing outfits, and then proceeding to fire them if they objected.
Salt Bae has received a variety of tip related complaints too, including ex-employees saying that their tips were withheld, which saw them subsequently fired after they raised the issue they say.
There were also cases of $140 apparently being slashed from a waitress's tips after she accidentally delivered a bag of leftover steak to the wrong table, and an employee being fired on the spot after dropping a glass in front of the owner, the case suggests.
A former server at the New York restaurant had also previously complained that 3% of tips were taken before being distributed to employees.
A former employee at the Nusr-Et restaurant in London described it as "gold from the outside but sh*t from the inside", whilst another compared the working environment to The Hunger Games as staff never knew if they would be fired during a shift, with a third likening the restauranter to a dictator.
A manager who previously worked for the star said "His world was nothing but Instagram and fame. The sensation was him. He ended up getting this godlike complex."
Most court cases have now been settled, but Salt Bae continues to have new employees challenge him, it has been reported.
He has also been accused of and even reselling the dregs of wine left by customers.
The allegations were made as part of a report for Insider, which detailed a total of seven lawsuits currently pending against Salt Bae, who boasts 51.7 million Instagram followers.
One former bartender at Nusr-Et London is quoted as saying “If he [Gökçe] doesn’t like anyone, you’re done, no notice period, nothing…They tell you to leave straight away.”
He was also accused of treating employees better if they were from his native Turkey, and firing employees on the spot with no notice or warnings.
It is also claimed that, if retailers brought in free wine samples to the restaurants for them to try before stocking, these too would then be sold to diners for a profit.
The bad reviews have not stopped him making a name for himself, though. He even ”gatecrashed” the pitch during the World Cup 2022 finals and met with England stars such as Jack Grealish while out in Qatar.
Gökçe is yet to respond to the allegations but in the past his attorney, Christy Reuter, apparently dismissed reports of new lawsuits, saying: “The allegations are really nothing more than a rehash of old lawsuits where the claims were disputed and have long since been settled.”