Great American Baking Show Winner Speaks Out About Series' Abrupt Cancellation
ABC pulled the baking competition series after sexual harassment allegations surfaced against judge Johnny Iuzzini
The Great American Baking Show’s newest winner, Vallery Lomas, has the perfect baker’s response to the show’s abrupt cancellation — “When life gives you lemons, I’m making lemon curds.”
The full-time attorney and part-time baker and blogger addressed ABC’s decision to pull season 3 of the show off the air just one week after it’s Dec. 7 premiere in light of the sexual harassment allegations made against pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini, one of the judges on the show, in a Facebook Live video on Thursday.
“Unfortunately because of the actions of Johnny Iuzzini, we are not able to broadcast the show as was originally planned,” Lomas explained. “I have experienced harassment, disrespectful comments and the pain those comments and actions can cause.”
She continued: “It has become commonplace, however, it’s important that all women have a safe place for our voices and our bodies.”
In October, four former employees who worked with Iuzzini accused him of sexual harassment in a lengthy Mic report. Their accounts included details of Iuzzini’s alleged disturbing actions which included touching employees’ butts with kitchen utensils as well as verbal abuse. The next month, four more sources came forward with their own stories of sexual harassment and abusive behavior by the chef.
Iuzzini responded to the outlet in a statement, saying, “I am shattered and heartbroken at the thought that any of my actions left members of my team feeling hurt or degraded. More importantly, I am deeply sorry to those who felt hurt.”
Instead of airing the rest of the episodes as planned, The Great American Baking Show announced Thursday that Lomas had won season 3 by posting a video recap (which has since been taken down) featuring clips of the unaired episodes — including the snow-filled moment that Lomas found out she won — on its Facebook page.
An ABC spokesperson previously said of the decision to pull the show, “In light of allegations that recently came to our attention, ABC has ended its relationship with Johnny Iuzzini and will not be airing the remainder of The Great American Baking Show episodes. ABC takes matters such as those described in the allegations very seriously and has come to the conclusion that they violate our standards of conduct. This season’s winner will be announced at a later date. Episodes of The Great Christmas Light Fight and CMA Country Christmas will take its place this week and next.”
Lomas noted that Iuzzini’s actions not only hurt the women he allegedly assaulted, but that they had a direct impact on her and the other contestants on the show by taking away their “chance to share our love of baking with all of you [viewers].”
Though she didn’t get to share her journey on the show as planned, Lomas said, “We can’t ignore this behavior any longer.”
“I am glad we are taking a moment to galvanize around this issue,” she said. “It was a small road bump and if that’s something that I and [the other contestants] have to shoulder so that we can stand around this issue then that’s something that we gladly bear.”
The Great American Baking Show had returned to the ABC schedule for a three-week run and is based on the U.K. format. Celebrity chef Paul Hollywood judged the bakers alongside Iuzinni; Ayesha Curry and Spice Adam hosted.