Thomas Carter is taking a break from running his restaurants following allegations that he instilled a “culture of fear.”
The restaurateur — a co-owner of Matter House, the group behind hip spots like Estela and Flora Bar — released a new statement following Eater’s investigation on the restaurants, saying that he will step away from operations for “several months.”
Carter, who runs the restaurant group with chef Ignacio Mattos, was accused by more than 30 staffers of verbal misconduct, including repeated mentions of his penis, inappropriate comments about both female staff and customers, and use of insults such as “fucking retard.” He previously told Eater that “today, our culture represents the industry’s highest code of conduct,” noting that his “abrasive” behavior was in the past.
He’s joining a now-long list of other restaurateurs accused of misconduct in light of the #MeToo movement who are stepping down from operations, but still maintain ownership. Others, like Mario Batali, are in the process of completely divesting.
See the full investigation here, and here’s Carter’s statement in full:
I am concerned and deeply embarrassed by the allegations made by some employees who were hurt and offended by my crude and offensive language. I apologize to those who were the recipients of my harsh and inappropriate comments. I apologize to my partner, Ignacio Mattos, and to all our staff members, as well. I am supportive of this movement, and respect those who had the courage to call me out. I will be taking several months away from Matter House restaurants to reflect and continue the leadership and workplace training that has resulted in vast improvements in my choice of words and in our culture over the past year. Matter House will continue to thrive thanks to my spectacular partner, our talented management team and devoted staff.