Top Schmuck

Watch out, Top Chef kvetchers: If you happen to think host Padma Lakshmi’s expanse of exposed skin in a working kitchen is a pinch inappropriate, you might be as anti-Semitic as Mel Gibson.

Well, not really, but in a claim that’s just as ridiculous, Bravo VP Andy Cohen has announced in his tiresome blog that he’s fed up with comments about Padma’s wardrobe:

Being Jewish, I was raised to believe that models who know about food should look as white-hot as possible while tasting and discussing food. Thus, I am hereby putting it out there that anyone who thinks Padma looks inappropriate just might be cloaking some form of anti-semitism in their comments and might want to look within instead of at Padma.

But how … I mean, why … ? I’m just so confused. However, Defamer hysterically attempts to clarify Cohen’s incendiary statement:

Before assuming Cohen is a) completely insane or b) making light of current heated, race-baiting Hollywood trends, it’s worth mentioning that his claims of a scantily clad model/chef tradition in the Jewish faith aren’t entirely without merit. What the persecution-complex-suffering cable executive was probably referencing was a snippet of scripture mentioning someone known only as Bath Tyra, largely thought to be the first Israelite supermodel, who wore only cleavage-enhancing tunics and clingy harem pants when she cooked what Torah scholars insist was the tastiest goat-and-date stew in all the tribe.

The blog NoControl hazards that Cohen might be kidding, adding, ‘But who knows, because layered irony is only decipherable by Hollywood insiders like himself.’

Twenty-four hours later the Bravo exec backpedaled:

Here’s the deal—I am a very sarcastic person with a sense of humor that is at times a little left of I don’t know what. People have been getting upset by a joke I made on the blog the other day making light of an issue—and it has raised the ire of some Top Chef fans … I was attempting to answer the issue while lampooning the intensely sensitive, PC world we live in today, like a very low-rent, blog version of Borat. It didn’t work and I am sorry.

Cohen also responds personally to a few angry commenters with more apologies and tail-tucking. It’s not as embarrassing as when Aaron Sorkin started a fight on the Television Without Pity forums and was subsequently given an Internet time-out by his handlers, but it certainly made me smile.