Former Guy Fieri Restaurant Employee Alleges Racial Slur Used At Work

Former employees are protesting Guy Fieri's restaurant at Westmoreland Mall Casino in Pennsylvania claiming discrimination, with one former line cook alleging a manager called him a racial slur while at work.

Former staff at Guy Fieri's American Kitchen & Bar claim they were paid lower wages than their colleagues for the same job and are now demanding fair pay for Black workers.

Former line cook Nathaniel Ridley claims that he was called the n-word while at work.

"My whole thing was just to get out the fact that he said the n-word, and nothing was done about it," Ridley told Channel 11.

"And then we found out about the money. Just a feeling of 'I want the feeling to go away,' and maybe the next person of color, whoever gets hired here, there's a process. Not one person decides what you make."

Management at the restaurant and casino responded to the claims in a statement.

"Live! Casino Pittsburgh and Guy Fieri's American Kitchen + Bar are proud of the jobs we have created in Westmoreland County, are committed to our Team Members, and are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion," it reads.

"The allegation [via Channel 11] that our compensation varies by race is simply false."

Ridley also told Trib Live that he discovered he was being paid $13 per hour while a white employee with less experience was making $15 per hour.

"I'm a big fan of Guy's. I watched all of his shows. I took my resume with me to a hiring fair, and I asked for more money, but they told me everyone was starting at the same rate. Then, I found out white employees with less experience were being paid more," Ridley told Trib Live.

He then said the incident with the racial pejorative took place in January when a manager shouted at another employee over turning music down.

"The day it happened, he stood right in front of me and said the 'n-word' and never even said he was sorry. He said it as easily as if he was asking for a side of ranch," Ridley said.

Representatives from the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Pennsylvania (ROC-PA), a not-for-profit organization trying to improve wages and working conditions for restaurant workers, were present at protests this week to support the former staff.

They also gathered more than 3,000 signatures for a petition that demands Black workers be paid fairly and compensated for unequal treatment.

They are also asking that mandatory racial sensitivity and equity training be implemented at all Guy Fieri's restaurants and at Live! Casino.

"Low wages, poor or no benefits and racial discrimination have been a problem for a long time in this industry, especially in the pandemic, when workers have been expected to put themselves on the front lines for very low wages," ROC-PA spokeswoman Bobbi Linskens said, per Trib Live.

Newsweek has reached out to Guy Fieri's representatives for comment.

Guy's American Kitchen and Bar
Exterior Marquee for Guy's American Kitchen and Bar by celebrity chef Guy Fieri in Times Square, New York City on 11/21/2012. Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images