Masterchef judge George Calombaris has been charged with assault following an incident at the A-League grand final in Sydney on Sunday night.
It’s alleged the celebrity chef pushed a Sydney fan in the chest following Sydney’s 4-2 victory over Melbourne Victory, where he is the club’s number one ticket holder.
Police served Calombaris, 38, with a court attendance notice today to appear at Downing Centre local court on June 29 to answer a charge of common assault against a 19-year-old man.
Footage of the incident features someone in the crowd shouting “pay your staff you dodgy bastard”. After being hugged on field by a woman, Calombaris heads over to fans and begins arguing with them.
Last month, Melbourne restaurant group Made Establishment, where Calmobaris is a director, paid $2.6 million in backpay to 162 of its 430 staff after an external audit revealed they had been incorrectly paid.
The company was first alerted to the problem by the Fair Work Ombudsman in 2015 and blamed “historically poor processes” during six years of rapid expansion for the problem.
On Monday Calombaris apologised, claiming the sledging included personal abuse of his family.
“I have spoken to Melbourne Victory FC and Football Federation Australia today to report the situation and I’m truly sorry that this has happened,” he said
“While I am not proud of my reaction to the situation, I was offended by a spectator yelling out abusive and derogatory comments about my family.
“I regret the way in which I reacted, I am disappointed that I let it get to me, and I sincerely apologise for offending anyone.”
Calombaris was on the field after the game with fellow Masterchef judge Matt Preston and chef Shannon Bennett, reportedly talking to FFA boss David Gallop before the confrontation occurred. He left the field and approached the man he believed responsible in the stands.
Channel 9’s A Current Affair tracked down the man in the video, who was at the game with his family. ACA did not identify the man, who admitted he was part of the jeering.
But he denies being part of, or even hearing, any abuse directed at the chef’s family.
“Everyone was yelling ‘pay your staff, pay your staff’. I think the crowd got on his nerves a bit,” he said.
“[Calombaris] was yelling at me ‘Come on the field, come on the field’.”
When he didn’t, the chef left the field and was filmed shoving the man in the chest.
“I heard him say that people were abusing his family. I certainly wasn’t abusing his family and I didn’t hear anyone around me abusing his family,” the man claimed.
A policeman spoke to the chef before he left the field with Preston.
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