Image Source: Getty / Taylor Hill
It seemed like the feud between Balthazar restaurateur Keith McNally and James Corden had cooled, but McNally reignited controversy with an Oct. 31 Instagram post that doubled down on his claim that Corden had displayed “abusive” behavior at the restaurant. This time, his post addressed an Oct. 29 article published in the London Times in which Corden denied behaving inappropriately. “I never screamed at anyone, I didn’t shout, didn’t call anyone a name or swear or use derogatory language,” Corden told the outlet.
In response, McNally accused the star of telling a “massive lie” on his Instagram. “How is it remotely a thing? When that person who posted the story wasn’t even there,” McNally wrote, adding that he’d been unimpressed with Corden’s apology the second time around. “On second viewing, I found his TV ‘confessional’ contrived and phony. The actor will say anything to save his bacon,” he wrote. “In the scheme of things my opinion means nothing, but after Friday’s interview and a second look at his fraudulent confessional, I’ve given up on James Corden. For Good.”
Corden further addressed the claims on an Oct. 24 episode of “The Late Late Show With James Corden.” “Last week, there were stories about me being banned from a restaurant, and at the time, I considered tweeting about it or Instagramming about it, but whenever these sort of moments come my way, I like to adopt quite a British attitude of sort of keep calm and carry on,” he said. However, after a talk with his father, Corden had a change of heart. “Look, when you make a mistake, you got to take responsibility, so I thought I would share with you what happened.”
Corden explained, “A couple of weeks ago, I was in New York with some friends and we went to breakfast at one of my absolute favorite restaurants — this place called Balthazar. And I, genuinely, I love it there . . . We sit down and we ordered, and my wife explained that she has a serious food allergy, so when everybody’s meals came, my wife was given the food that she was allergic to — she hadn’t taken a bite of anything, no worries, we sent it back, all was good.”
The late-night host claimed that her meal came wrong a third time, so “in the heat of the moment,” he made a “sarcastic rude comment about cooking it myself.” He added, “It is a comment I deeply regret. I understand the difficulties of being a server. I worked shifts at restaurants for years. I have such respect and I value anyone that does such a job and the team at that restaurant are so great. That’s why I love it there.”
Corden continued: “But here’s the truth of it, because I didn’t shout or scream, I didn’t get up out of my seat, I didn’t call anyone names or use derogatory language, I’d been walking around thinking that I hadn’t done anything wrong, but the truth is, I have. I made a rude comment, and it was wrong. It was an unnecessary comment. It was ungracious to the server.”
Corden also mentioned that he called McNally to personally apologize. “I hope I’m allowed in one day, so when I’m back in New York, I can go there and apologize in person, which is something I would absolutely do,” he concluded.
In a previous interview with The New York Times published on Oct. 21 and conducted the day prior, the late-night host didn’t share his own version of the incidents reported by McNally or confirm that he apologized, Corden said he hadn’t “done anything wrong, on any level.”
“So why would I ever cancel this [interview]? I was there. I get it,” he said. “I feel so Zen about the whole thing. Because I think it’s so silly. I just think it’s beneath all of us. It’s beneath you. It’s certainly beneath your publication.” When asked by the reporter if Corden was familiar with McNally’s accusations against him and reports of a subsequent apology, “The Late Late Show” host said, “I haven’t really read anything. It’s strange. It’s strange when you were there. I think I’m probably going to have to talk about it on Monday’s show. My feeling, often, is, never explain, never complain. But I’ll probably have to talk about it.”
Adding that the online chatter was “silly,” Corden attributed the talk about his behavior to trolls on social media. “Should we not all be a little grown-up about this? . . . I’ve been here, been walking around New York, not one person’s come up to me. We’re dealing in two worlds here. If I lived on Twitter, Hillary Clinton is the president of the United States and Jeremy Corbyn won by a landslide.”
On Oct. 17, McNally shared that Corden had apologized for his behavior toward employees at the popular NYC restaurant frequented by the stars. After initially accusing the late-night host of mistreating the restaurant’s waitstaff on Instagram on Oct. 17, a few hours later, McNally said Corden had kindly responded to his claims.
“James Corden just called me and apologized profusely,” McNally wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of Corden. “Having f*cked up myself more than most people, I strongly believe in second chances.” He also joked, “So if James Corden lets me host his Late Late Show for 9 months, I’ll immediately rescind his ban from Balthazar. No, of course not. But . . . anyone magnanimous enough to apologize to a deadbeat layabout like me (and my staff) doesn’t deserve to be banned from anywhere. Especially Balthazar. So Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Corden, Jimmy Corden. All is Forgiven. xx.”
Earlier that day, McNally, who also owns famed NYC establishments like Pastis, Morandi, and Minetta Tavern, detailed incidents involving the “Late Late Show” host. “James Corden is a Hugely gifted comedian, but a tiny Cretin of a man. And the most abusive customer to my Balthazar servers since the restaurant opened 25 years ago,” he wrote, before explaining an incident in June in which Corden was “extremely nasty” to a Balthazar manager after finding a hair in his dish, and another a few weeks prior when he yelled at a server upon receiving an incorrect order. “You can’t do your job! Maybe I should go into the kitchen and cook the omelette myself!” Corden allegedly said to the server.
“I don’t often 86 a customer, [but] today I 86’d Corden. It did not make me laugh,” McNally continued. (“86” is a term used in the restaurant industry in reference to removing a customer from an establishment or an item from the menu.)
Corden’s representatives did not immediately respond to POPSUGAR’s request for comment.