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Influential Charleston Restaurateur Randall Goldman Accused of Sexual Misconduct by Former Staffers: Report

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Eight employees allege inappropriate behavior from their boss
charleston
SeanPavonePhoto / istockphoto.com

Charleston restaurateur Randall Goldman is being accused of sexual harassment by several former staffers. In an exposé published by The Post and Courier, eight employees described Goldman as a “chronic trespasser of social boundaries, prone to doling out backrubs, planting kisses, and sending unseemly late-night text messages against recipients’ wishes.”

Goldman is the CEO and co-founder of Patrick Properties Hospitality Group in South Carolina, which restores and rents wedding venues and runs the up-and-coming restaurant Parcel 32. He also oversees business efforts at American Theater, William Aiken House, and the now-closed upscale seafood spot Fish.

Following the recent allegations against him, the Charleston Food and Wine board unanimously voted to remove Goldman from its roster. Additionally, he has resigned from his position on the James Beard Foundation’s National Advisory Board, reporter Hanna Raskin tweeted.

His position as president of the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, on the other hand, is secure for now. The nonprofit trade group released a statement saying, “Our team’s experience with Randall Goldman has always been professional. We have not experienced any inappropriate behavior by Mr. Goldman, and consequently have no plans to take action at this time.”

But according to The Post and Courier’s report, former workers claim Goldman created a toxic workplace culture in which “men and women feel physically and emotionally besieged.” In one specific incident, a sales representative recalls her boss coming into an otherwise empty office to give her a back rub she did not consent to. The woman said this frightened her, but she just “smiled to shake it off.” She also claims that she was discouraged from reporting the incident by Goldman’s assistant, who doubled as the company’s human resources coordinator.

“She was like ‘Randall loves you. He’d be really devastated if you came forward with this,’” the unidentified woman told The Post and Courier.

Employees allege that many other incidents involved Goldman making comments about physical appearance. One woman who worked at Fish remembers him telling her, “Those stockings are so hot.”

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Goldman has reportedly denied all allegations and even reportedly filed a libel lawsuit against “John Doe” for using a masked email account to send messages implying that the restaurateur was “facing allegations of sexual harassment and creation of a hostile work environment.” He also told The Post and Courier that he was “heartbroken” over the allegations because he is “such a supporter of women in the workforce.”

The Daily Meal has reached out to Patrick Properties Hospitality Group and its attorney Allan Holmes for further comment.

In the wake of the “Me Too” movement, many other high-ranking names in the restaurant industry have been accused of either committing or fostering misconduct, including New Orleans’ John Besh, Plaza Hotel’s Todd English, The Chew’s Mario Batali, Top Chef alum Johnny Iuzzini, The Spotted Pig’s Ken Friedman, Penrose chef Charlie Hallowell, and Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert. This ever-growing list is proof that professional kitchen culture has long been in need of reform — perhaps one of the most important lessons we learned about food in 2017.

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