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March 04, 2018

Popular Philly chef suspended for allegations of sexual harassment

Restaurants Sexual Harassment
Wm. Mulherin’s Sons Wm. Mulherin’s Sons/Website

Inside the Wm. Mulherin’s Sons restaurant at the corner of Front and Master streets.

Chris Painter, the chef at lauded Fishtown restaurant Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, has been suspended from the staff following the reveal of multiple employees’ sexual harassment allegations.

Along with Painter, who is a co-partner in the restaurant and culinary director of Method Hospitality, general manager Michael Jreidini and two other employees were also suspended.

Since an incident with one employee last summer, the details of which have not been shared, Painter had already been moved to a weekends-only schedule so his shifts would not overlap with the employee’s, Philly Mag reported.

Painter has been a reputable name in the Philadelphia culinary world prior to the reports of harassment, having partnered with Stephen Starr in 2011 to open the now-shuttered, upscale Italian eatery Il Pittore. About two years ago Painter opened Wm. Mulherin’s Sons with Randall Cook and David Grasso.

Despite the accolades the restaurant has received since opening, reports highlight what one employee described as “like walking into an episode of ‘Mad Men’ -- the way that they view women, talk about women, treat women.” Other detailed accounts from female employees highlight the inappropriate sexual talk and contact with Painter and other male managers that suggest a systemic issue of sexism at the restaurant.

In response to the allegations, Cook and Grasso released a statement, saying, “We are horrified by these allegations. As a company, we take any form of harassment or abuse extremely seriously.”

The statement continues, “We have suspended all individuals accused of wrongdoing and have engaged an outside expert to conduct a broader and more thorough investigation. It is of the highest importance to us that every single person in our company feels safe and respected and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to guarantee that.”