During our Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 hour with food critic Soleil Ho, at 11:30 a.m. ET, we took a call from someone who identified himself as "Dominic" from "Aspen, Colorado." He unexpectedly made racist comments about African-American restaurant patrons. He also claimed to be "a vice president of a chain of restaurants called Chart House."
Host Meghna Chakrabarti condemned those remarks and addressed the issue several times in the remainder of the hour.
In order to verify the identity of the caller, On Point spoke with Steve Scheinthal, executive vice president and general counsel for Landry’s, Inc., the Houston, Texas-based company that owns the Chart House restaurant chain.
"There is no Dominic that’s a vice president of Chart House, and no vice president of Chart House called. I don’t even know who this Dominic is," said Scheinthal. "This is a horrible hoax. Our organization has zero tolerance for any kind of racism. We take this seriously. It was a horrible statement that does not reflect the views of our organization."
Scheinthal said no employee of Landry’s, Inc. or Chart House lives in Aspen, and there is no Chart House restaurant currently in Aspen. The first Chart House restaurant, however, was opened in Aspen in 1961, according to the Chart House website. That location is closed. The closest Chart House is in the Denver suburb of Golden, Colorado. The restaurant chain has 26 locations in 15 states.
Landry’s has owned Chart House since 2002. Scheinthal said since Landry’s acquired Chart House, there has never been a company officer named Dominic. He’s not personally aware of any employee named Dominic.
On Point screens its callers to create the most robust hour of live conversation possible. We apologize that this hoax got on the air.