Grill’d’s CEO Simon Crowe has apologised for “dress[ing] up in [a] Native American costume” at this year’s work Christmas party, following a now-deleted TikTok taken from the event.
In the TikTok shared on Tuesday, a Grill’d employee who goes by Riyan said he attended his workplace’s Christmas party dressed as an “eshay” and “muzzed at the company owner”.
As mentioned, the clip has been deleted but cop this screenshot we grabbed before it was taken down. You can see Crowe wearing a traditional feathered bonnet often worn by male leaders who are respected in their community in Native American and First Nations cultures.
Looking at the video, it’s also quite unclear what exactly the theme was at this event. Crowe is standing next to someone dressed as The Count from Sesame Street and someone else appears to be dressed in a Mandalorian costume.
In a statement shared exclusively with PEDESTRIAN.TV, Crowe confirmed he wore the outfit and apologised.
“I didn’t give too much thought to what to wear and grabbed a sparkly gold jacket and headdress at the last minute,” he said.
Side note: he just… had that lying around? Okay, sure, go off, I guess.
“My intention was in no way to offend or “dress up” in Native American costume, however in hindsight I understand the offence this may have caused and for that, I’m truly sorry,” Crowe added.
It’s worth mentioning here that this isn’t the first time someone has claimed management at Grill’d either encouraged or engaged in cultural appropriation.
Last month, TikTok user BayleyIsTrying — who says he used to work for Grill’d — claimed in a lengthy video that people involved in organising the Christmas party in 2018 allegedly assigned stores to dress up in specific countries and cultures for a “Destinations” theme.
Bayley claims his manager at the time showed him an email containing the proposed themes, which allegedly included Japan, Egypt, the British Royal Family, Geordie Shore, German Oktoberfest, American Redneck, Indian American Peoples, Carnival and, uhh, “Amazon Tribesperson”.
According to Bayley, managers reportedly stepped in “pretty quickly after that” and told staff that each store would be choosing its own theme.
A spokesperson for Grill’d denied Bayley’s claims, however, telling PEDESTRIAN.TV: “that’s simply not true”.