Celebrity Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian has backed out of plans to open a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel being developed in Washington, D.C. over the 2016 presidential candidate’s comments on illegal immigration.
Zakarian, who is well-known for his appearances on the Food Network, made his decision just one day after chef Jose Andres also decided to back out of his 10-year lease with the flagship hotel. Donald Trump, Jr. penned a letter to the Washington Post in response, threatening to take legal action against Andres.
“The recent statements surrounding Mexican immigrants by Donald Trump do not in any way align with my personal core values. In light of this, I am unable to move forward with a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel,” Zakarian said in a statement, according to NBC News.
Zakarian hails from a family of Armenian immigrants. Trump’s statements were geared towards illegal immigrants and he has made it clear that he has no issue with immigrants who have arrived in the United States legally.
Chef Andres said in his own statement:
More than half of my team is Hispanic, as are many of our guests. And, as a proud Spanish immigrant and recently naturalized American citizen myself, I believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status.