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Amy's Baking Company PR Scandal

Added • Updated 22 days ago

Added by amanda b. • Updated 22 days ago by andcallmeshirley
Added by amanda b. • Updated 22 days ago by andcallmeshirley

Samy and Amy Bouzaglo
Category: Event Status: Confirmed Year: 2013 Origin: Kitchen Nightmares Region:
Type: Controversy,
Tags: facebook, reddit, drama, pr, public relations, gordon ramsay, kitchen nightmares, reality tv, tv show, television, scandal, backlash,
Samy and Amy Bouzaglo


Amy's Baking Company PR Scandal refers to an online feud that erupted between a restaurant owner in Arizona, United States and members of Reddit over an episode of Fox reality show Kitchen Nightmares aired in May 2013.


As early as August 2010, Scottsdale, Arizona restaurant Amy's Baking Company[2] began receiving poor reviews on Yelp,[3] which became the focal point of a local news story (shown below) about the restaurant and its online notoriety. That same month, owner Amy Bouzaglo responded to the backlashes on the Yelp page[12], calling an unhappy reviewer names including "loser" and "moron" under the guise of a five-star review.

Kitchen Nightmares

In 2013, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay went to the failing restaurant for an episode of his reality television show Kitchen Nightmares[1], which aired on May 10th, 2013. Owners Samy and Amy Bouzaglo blamed their poor business on "haters" who were commenting on the restaurant's Yelp page. Despite this, the owners were depicted reheating and serving prepared food and pocketing the wait staff's tips. During the episode, Ramsay walked out, refusing to continue helping a client for the first time in the show's history.[4]

Notable Developments

On Reddit

One day prior to the show's national airing, a clip from the episode was shared on the /r/Videos subreddit[5], billed as the "craziest restaurant owners" in the show's history. The post gained 7,784 upvotes, 2,966 points overall and nearly 1,000 comments before it was removed from the subreddit and commenting was disabled.

Facebook Meltdown

On May 13th, Redditor dojosnail submitted a screenshot of Amy's Baking Company's Facebook page (shown below) to /r/CringePics[6], claiming that the owners were having a public meltdown over criticism from the Kitchen Nightmares episode. The post gained more than 9,200 upvotes, 2,800 points overall and nearly 2,800 comments within 48 hours. On March 14th, two additional screenshots were submitted to /r/CringePics[7][8] by two different Redditors, each gaining more than 1,400 points each. That evening, all three posts were removed with most of their comments hidden.[9]

← → fi !! Search for people, places and things Amy's Baking Company Bak Timeline ▼ Now ▼ Amy's Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro 14 minutes ago WE DO NOT NEED THIS. YOU STUPID PEOPLE. AMERICA IS ABOUT RESSLING, IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL. THE CAKES WE OFFER ARE EXPENSIVE BECAUSE WE HAVE TO REPACKAGE AND SHIP DO NOT BLAME US BECAUSE YOU CAN NOT AFFORD QUALITY THE YELPERS, AND NOW THE REDDITS, NEED TO BACK OFF. YOURE NOT RIGHT JUST BECAUSE OF SOME TV SHOW. Like Comment Share 8 people like this. Write a comment. You cannot repackage and resell an item without the EXPRESS consent of the owner of the product, and you product! Like Reply 34-10 minutes ago Edited Hide 11 Replies Amy's Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro You cannot resell an item with the EXPRESS consent of the owner YES I CAN, IT IS WITHOUT CONSENT THAT I CANT. AND I ONLY LIED TO GORDN RAMSEY BECAUSE HE IS NOT AMERICAN. HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS Like 10 minutes ago without consent Like 9 minutes ago Not American so he doesn't understand? Haha, he's only one of the most successful chefs and restauranteurs in the world! I'm pretty sure he understands... Like . 4-8 minutes ago

Hacking Claim

At around 6pm EST on May 14th, all of the offending posts had been removed from their Facebook page. The owners left a status update[13] claiming their website as well as all of their social media accounts had been hacked and they would be working with the FBI to track down the perpetrators.

Amy's Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro 8 hours ago Obviously our Facebook, YELP, Twitter and Website have been hacked. We are working with the local authorities as well as the FBI computer crimes unit to ensure this does not happen again. We did not post those horrible things. Thank You Amy &Samy Like Comment Share E 1,590 2,753 people like this. Write a comment... In the criminal justice system, Resturant based hackings are considered especially heinous.ln AZ, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Baking Unit.These are their stories".. Unlike Reply 4,808 8 hours ago 界188 Replies

Waitress AMA

On May 15th, former Amy's Baking Company waitress Katy Cipriano participated in an "ask me anything" session on the /r/IAmA[21] subreddit, which received upwards of 28,800 up votes and 9,700 comments within six days. In the post, she acknowledged that the Bouzaglos treated their staff very poorly and that they were portrayed accurately in the episode of Kitchen Nightmares.


Also on May 15th, the Amy’s Baking Company Facebook[14] page posted a status update announcing a press conference event for the restaurant's “Grand Re-Opening” on the evening of May 21st. In addition, the culinary news blog Eater[19] reported that the Bouzaglos hired the PR firm Rose+Moser+Allyn Public & Online Relations to assist their media event.

"Customers will be able to decide who is correct: a famous celebrity chef or the marketplace that has supported the small, locally-owned business for six years."

However, on May 17th, FOX lawyers sent the Bouzaglos a formal notice reminding their agreement to not speak publicly about the reality TV show and threatening legal action if they proceeded to hold a press conference to talk about Kitchen Nightmares (shown below). By May 21st, AZ Central[20] and other news sites reported that the planned event had been canceled due to legal threats and a fall out with the PR firm over "strategy disagreements."

Re: Kitchen Nightmares Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bouzaglo We represent ITV Studios America and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Upper Ground Enterprises, which produces Kitchen Nightmares, We understand that you are planning a public event on May 21, 2013, at which you will discuss your experiences and your "unflattering portrayals" on the show. If you speak about the show without Upper Ground's and Fox's prior approval, and if you disparage the show, its host, or its producers, you will breach your obligations under Paragraph 10 of your Personal Release and Paragraph 14 of your Participant Agreement. These agreements prohibit you from speaking publicly abut Kuchan Nightmares, other than to acknowledge "the mere fact of your participation in the Series in personal publicity relating to yourself" Your conduct exposes each of you to liability for liquidated damages of $100,000 To prevent harm to our client, we insist that you refrain from making any statements to the media or the public, at the May 21 event or in any other forum, about Kitchen Nightmares and anyone associated with it. ITV Studios and Upper Ground take this matter very seriously and reserve all of their rights and remedies arising from your breach of these agreements. If you would like to discuss this matter, please do not hesitate to call me at incerci lonzo Wickers iV Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Later that same day, the Phoenix New Times[16] published several photographs from the re-opening event, noting that security guards and police officers prevented press members from approaching the restaurant. Meanwhile, AZ Central[15] reported that the crowd at the event was “thin.”

Immigration Issues

On May 21st, the Phoenix New Times[17] reported that co-owner of the restaurant Samy Bouzaglo may be facing deportation from the United States in a two-year-long immigration case. On the following day, AZ Central[18] reported that Bouzaglo had a past criminal history which involved “drug distribution, threats and extortion” and that he had been banned from entering both France and Germany.

Employee Contract Leaked

On June 28th, 2013, Radar Online[22] published an article reporting on a leaked legally binding contract that Amy's Baking Company employees were required to sign in order to work at the restaurant. The agreement contained a list of 20 provisions, many of which penalized staff financially if they were broken. Pay would be withheld if food was burned or plates were broken and if an employee failed to show up for a holiday or weekend shift, they would be "penalized with a fee of $250.00." The contract also included a non-compete agreement, which prevented ex-staff from working at a competing restaurant within a 50 mile radius for an entire year after termination for resignation.

ABC Amy's Baking Company 7366 East Shea Blvd # 112 Scottsdale, AZ 85260 Page#1 (480) 607.0677 (480) 607 0687 fax amysbakingco@ e:Eploye COact&Rale This lener is a mutual agreement between Amy for the perpose of a work centract with φ, following lernw By-ping below you agree t,thor tem-nd-les, ind din possible mectary peahies this Iener you are No coide Fod or Beverages may be brought inaide ABC 5).If you fail o·show wp?o·your scheduled "h焏we may penalize you monetarily 4). when yoo show upfor wwh you must be dressed appropriately. and properly covered. nd you must be ready to work with your hair plled back, and hands washed by no later ) Any type of anitude will resuk in immediase sermination Yom leave the prsise immediately afer your schedued hi, d o family eicods may come to see y while working 7).Vou mw. ma-inyour desigseed working ares. Page#2 8). No purses or bags are allowed inside ABC, (exceptions may be made) however upon leaving a designated employee of ABC has the legal right and consent to inspect any and all packages that you may have brought with you. 9). At no point is any food or any type of open beverage allowed in the kitchen. This is a direct Health Code 10).ABC has multiple security cameras and any type of theft will be punished by the fullest extent of the Law 11). No visiting or unnecessary talking is allowed during your work shift. This causes distractions and results in loss of product. And may result in possible harm to you, or to 12). Workers must keep their hair pulled back in a bun and no facial hair is allowed (unless for religious beliefs.) 13).Any product such as food or plates that are broken or burned due to direct negligence will be taken from your pay check at ABC's cost 14). Respect and distance must be given to all fellow employees. No harassment or bulling of any type will be tolerated and will be cause for immediate termination. If such an event happens you must report the incident immediately to Samy or Amy Bouzaglo. 15) You must treat the equipment and all property of ABC with respect Equipment should be cleaned and maintained nightly as part of your scheduled shifts responsibilities. 16) Holidays and Weekends are Mandatory, by signing this contract you are accepting that you will be required to work all Holidays, and Weekends. Due to the nature of our Industry this is a necessity and any No- Show will be monetarily penalized with a fee of $250.00. 17) The recipes and techniques that have been developed by Amy at ABC are exclusive and shall remain confidential. Any removal of recipes will be considered theft. 18) You must possess a current Maricopa County Food Handlers Card. 19) The wait staff understands that any and all "tips" are property of the "house". By signing this contract you agree that you willingly accept a payment of $8.00 to $12.00 per hour to ensure that you will receive some type of payment. Due to the volatile nature of any retail business we are unable to predict when we wrill have per hour buissness. By signing this contact you agree that you are willfuly accepting a payment of instead of tips 20) It takes a great deal of time, energy and patience on the part of Samy& Amy (the owners) to train and teach our employees. We are investing in you as a new employee, and we are paying you to teach you. By signing this contract you are hereby accepting that you will be employed exclusively by ABC Amy's Baking Co. LLC. And shall not work for any competitor within a 50 mile radius of ABC within one year of termination or voluntary Page#3 Resignation, without prior authorization from ABC. Amy's Baking Co LLC Nor shall you be allowed to open your own business of the same type, within the above mentioned radius. I herby agree to all of the above mentioned terms and conditions. Pages #1-3. Date ONLINE Date

In the coming days, the leaked contract was reported on by several news sites, including MSN,[24] Fox News,[27] Eater[25] and the IBI Times.[26] On July 2nd, Redditor tlgnome24 submitted a post about the contract to the /r/WTF[28] subreddit, which gained over 9,100 up votes and 1,700 comments in the first nine hours.

Dr. Phil Interview

On April 10th, 2014, Amy and Sam Bouzaglo were interviewed on the talk show Dr. Phil, where they defended their business practices and revealed that they had been harassed with offensive prank calls since the Kitchen Nightmares episode was broadcast (shown below). Bouzaglo also claimed that some callers had mentioned the video game Battletoads, referencing 4chan's Gamestop preorder pranks.

Return to Amy's Baking Company

On April 11th, 2014, a follow-up Kitchen Nightmares episode for Amy's Baking Company was released, which contained host Gordon Ramsay's summary of the story behind Amy's Baking Company, along with previously never-seen-before footage from the original episode and interview clips with a number of Internet bloggers who covered the story as it happened. In addition, the episode also featured an encore interview with the owner Amy Bouzaglo (shown below).

On the following day, Redditor me_and_batman posted the episode to the /r/videos[30] subreddit, where it received upwards of 2,100 up votes and 560 comments. In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the follow-up episode, including The Huffington Post,[31] BoingBoing,[32] Perez Hilton,[33] International Business Times,[34] Gawker[35], Today[36] and Eater.[37]

Search Interest

External References

[1] Hulu – Kitchen Nightmares: Amy's Baking Company

[2] Facebook – Amy's Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro

[3] Yelp – Amy's Baking Company

[4] Eater – Watch Gordon Ramsay Give Up on Delusional Restaurant Owners in Kitchen Nightmares

[5] Reddit – /r/videos: Craziest Restaurant Owners in Kitchen Nightmares History (US). (Gordon Ramsay actually walks out for the first time)

[6] Reddit – /r/cringepics: So Amy's Baking Company's Facebook page is having a complete meltdown right now. They are actively commenting and replying to "haters". The cringe is good

[7] Reddit – /r/cringepics: aaaaaand they've snapped.

[8] Reddit – /r/cringepics: Amy's Baking Company tries to scare off redditors by posting this badly photoshopped screenshot.

[9] Reddit – /r/SubredditDrama: /r/cringepics mods delete everything related to Kitchen Nightmares, rendering an entire highly upvoted bestof thread obsolete.

[10] Tumblr – What Should We Call Social Media: When Amy's Baking Co Had a Meltdown

[11] Buzzfeed – This Is The Most Epic Brand Meltdown On Facebook Ever

[12] Phoenix New Times – Ouch! Today's Hard Lesson on Yelp

[13] Facebook – Amy's Baking Company: Obviously our Facebook, YELP, Twitter and Website have been hacked.

[14] Facebook – Amys Baking Company Boutique

[15] AZ Central – Amys Baking Company co-owner faces deportation

[16] Phoenix New Times – Amys Baking Company Reopening

[17] Phoenix New Times – Amys Baking Company Owner Samy

[18] AZ Central – Amys Baking Company Owner Faces Deportation

[19] Eater – Kitchen Nightmares Restaurant Will Relaunch Next Week

[20] AZ Central – Amys Baking Company gets lawsuit threat

[21] Reddit – Former Waitress Katy Cipriano

[22] Radar Online via Wayback Machine – Kitchen Nightmares Restauranters

[24] MSN via Wayback Machine – Amys Baking Company has an insane contract

[25] Eater – Amys Baking Co Makes Employees Sign a Crazy Contract

[26] IBI Times – Amys Baking Company Employee Contract is Exactly What Youd Expect

[27] Fox News – Amys Baking Company Makes Employees Sign 20 Item Contract

[28] Reddit – How desperate for a job must you be to agree to this

[30] Reddit – Amys Baking Company is back on Kitchen Nightmares

[31] The Huffington Post – Amys Baking Company Returns to Kitchen Nightmares

[32] Boing Boing – Amys Baking Company Has its Revenge

[33] Perez Hilton – Amys Baking Company has its revenge

[34] International Business Times – Watch Amys Baking Company Part 2

[35] Gawker – Infamous Kitchen Nightmares Couple Still Crazed

[36] Today – Kitchen Nightmares turned Amys Baking Co

[37] Eater – Kitchen Nightmares the Return

Tags: facebook, reddit, drama, pr, public relations, gordon ramsay, kitchen nightmares, reality tv, tv show, television, scandal, backlash,

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