Jon Taffer’s tough style is sort of the point of Bar Rescue, but his comments on the actual food and beverage industry outside of reality television got him into hot water this week. Taffer appeared on Fox News on Thursday night to talk about restaurant workers with Laura Ingraham. And rather than be sympathetic to the plight of millions of people working through a still-ongoing pandemic, Taffer compared low-income workers to dogs who should be starved in order to be motivated to work.
Service industry workers have endured a lot during the pandemic, starting with uncertainty about their jobs amid lockdowns. Hotels and restaurants were the first places to shut down amid coronavirus mitigation efforts, and their slow reopening has not come without safety concerns about and the need for personal protective equipment for those who have returned to work.
A study in May said half of adults not vaccinated were concerned about missing work because of side effects, and with no paid time off for vaccines or schedule flexibility, some are neglecting their own health in order to keep getting paychecks. For some people, however, wages were so low that the benefits they can get from the federal government actually outweigh those coming from jobs offered by employers, hence the staff shortages many employers have complained about for months.
Rather than simply pay more livable wages, however, Taffer is on the side of those who simply want to complain. Mostly about how no one wants to work in these days filled with disease and death.
Laura Ingraham: “What if we just cut off the unemployment? Hunger is a pretty powerful thing.”
Bar Rescue guy: “They only feed a military dog at night, because a hungry dog is an obedient dog. Well, if we are not causing people to be hungry to work…” pic.twitter.com/Pw5C6n6l02
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 13, 2021
“We’re incentivizing people to stay home,” Taffer said, as he nonsensically pitched giving unemployment benefits directly to “employers” who would in theory trickle it down to their employees directly. Ingraham said that “hunger” is a motivating factor in life, and Taffer agreed, comparing restaurant workers to military dogs who are kept hungry in order to work harder.
“I have a friend in the military who trains military dogs. They only feed a military dog at night, because a hungry dog is an obedient dog,” Taffer said. “Well, if we are not causing people to be hungry to work then we’re providing them all the meals they need sitting at home.”
Economists can argue over the difference between an actual living wage and what employers are willing to pay workers, sure, but comparing actual humans to dogs is as gross an analogy you can intentionally offer. Which is why the reaction to the clip was not positive for the very wealthy guy who created NFL Sunday Ticket.
I am shocked — SHOCKED, I tell you — to discover that the Bar Rescue guy who berates workers for entertainment has bad politics. https://t.co/ipYplFtG5K
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) August 13, 2021
“At the Bar Rescue bar, we treat our employees like family…. specifically like the family dog we leave chained up in the backyard to keep him mean.” https://t.co/kFgg3nkg85
— Stuart (@LeftHandStu) August 13, 2021
Wow… I kinda used to have respect for Jon Taffer after all the episodes of Bar Rescue I watched, but advocating starvation to encourage work is straight up fascism. https://t.co/b6hPHNycTT
— Gavyn (vaccinated, still wears a mask) 🔥 (@GavynLumier) August 13, 2021
Taffer has yet to comment on this thing he very clearly believes, but for some, his ghastly comments certainly add to all that shouting he’s done at bar employees in the name of entertainment over the years.