Celebrity chef George Calombaris has been pulled from Tourism WA's Create Your Own Gourmet Escape in WA campaign following the news that he underpaid his staff by $7.8 million.
The MasterChef judge, who starred in the new Tourism WA TVC and online content series, has been under pressure since the news arose that his hospitality group was ordered to backpay 515 employees $7.8 million in wages and superannuation.
In addition to the backpay, Calombaris has been fined a $200,000 contrition payment to be paid to the Commonwealth Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.
A spokesperson for Tourism WA told AdNews:
“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.
“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."
Despite calls for Calombaris to be dropped from MasterChef, Network Ten has confirmed its support for the chef and will keep him judging on the series.
“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 spokesperson from Network Ten told AdNews.
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