Home Lifestyle Beard Foundation Undercut Integrity of Its Awards, Panel Says

Beard Foundation Undercut Integrity of Its Awards, Panel Says


The committee “unanimously rejected the attempt to alter established Awards procedure to obtain a different result,” the statement said.

As for the foundation’s disclosure that there were no Black winners, the statement called it “incredibly disappointing.” But learning anything at all about who had won, even in the form of demographic data, was in itself “shocking,” the statement said, given that under the rules of the awards, all results are supposed to be kept confidential.

The foundation’s leaders have given versions of events that seem to be at odds with the one presented by the committee. In August, after The Times reported on the backstage discussions, Clare Reichenbach, the foundation’s chief executive, denied that there was a list of winners to be revealed. “There was no final vote on the winners,” she said.

The committee statement, signed by all 20 members, concludes by asking the foundation to acknowledge that a list of winners for 2020 exists, to confirm that “demographics” played a part in the decision not to release the list, and to explain, in essence, who at the foundation knew what about the winners, and when they knew it. (This reporter served on the restaurant awards committee in 2005 and 2006, and has received six of the foundation’s journalism awards.)

Ms. Reichenbach said in a statement on Wednesday that the withdrawal of several nominees after the voting “compromised the original list of winners and it was our understanding that, therefore, there would be a revote. We thought it best, based on input from committee members and given the dire state of the industry, to change the approach to the Awards this year and next in recognition of these extraordinary times.” She said the review of the way the awards are run would include new procedures “to reallocate votes in the event nominees withdraw.”

Through a publicist for the foundation, Mr. Seegal said that Ms. Reichenbach’s statement reflected his views as well.

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