Adam Richman's show on the Travel Channel has been sidelined in the wake of an obscenity-laced exchange the host engaged in with a critic on Instagram. Now the question is whether Mr. Richman will lose his gig promoting meat for Walmart.
Asked for comment on the controversy or whether it will result in any change in the retailer's relationship with Mr. Richman a Walmart spokeswoman said: "We don't have anything to share at this time."
Two of the commercials featuring Mr. Richman continued to run Wednesday, according to iSpot.tv. They also remained on Walmart's YouTube channel. Walmart has run content featuring Mr. Richman on Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere.
The retailer has had a mixed record in responding to controversies involving its merchandise suppliers, quickly yanking Paula Deen's products from stores last year in the wake of her admission to using racial slurs, but then declining to remove Duck Dynasty merchandise following controversial comments by that clan's patriarch Phil Robertson about gays and blacks. Neither, however, were pitch people for Walmart.
The Washington Post Style Blog reported yesterday that the Travel Channel had yanked Mr. Richman's new show "Man Finds Food" in the wake of a an exchange that began with a photo on Instagram posted by Mr. Richman, who had lost a great deal of weight. The photo showed off his new physique and used the hashtag #thinspiration. That led to an online essay noting that the word has become sensitive because of its adoption by pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia circles in social media. All that in turn led Mr. Richman to call the essayist a four-letter expletive for vagina and unleash various other obscenities in a lengthy Instagram exchange. He later issued an apology via "Good Morning America."
Mr. Richman, playing on his position as host of the long-running "Man v. Food" show on the Travel Channel, became a pitchman for Walmart steak and hamburger products this spring, continuing a successful campaign for steaks that won Scott Neal, senior VP-produce, meat and seafood, the retailer's Sam Walton Entrepreneur of the Year award last month.