Masterchef judge and celebrity chef George Calombaris has been dumped from Tourism WA campaigns amid a wages scandal where he underpaid his staff almost $8 million.
As a result, Tourism WA has cut ties with the embattled chef as questions arise about why he was hired in the first place considering it was first reported in 2017 he had underpaid 160 workers in excess of $2.6 million.
The chef admitted to the Fair Work Ombudsman he underpaid his staff $7.83 million between 2011 to 2017.
Calombaris led a six-month ad campaign promoting WA running alongside a WA-themed Masterchef week which aired earlier this season.
The ads were set to run until September yet have been pulled across TV and digital following the wages scandal which erupted last week.
State tourism minister Paul Papalia has condemned Calombaris’s actions.
He said: “People should pay their employees what they’re owed and what they deserve and that’s really disappointing.
“What George Calombaris has done is terrible.”
Tourism WA has not revealed how much Calombaris or Masterchef was paid for the ads but according to 9News, the total amount is in the millions.
It is understood Tourism WA is attempting to gain compensation from Calombaris’ management.