Over eight seasons of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain has made it clear that he will gladly literally suck the anus out of a warthog for the Travel Channel, but if there's one thing that leaves a bad, non-anus-y taste in his mouth, it's product placement. Unfortunately, Bourdain's relationship with Travel Channel is just about over—as previously reported, Bourdain is taking his production crew to CNN, where he'll basically be doing the exact same show—and any question of whether Travel Channel might be bitter about that was quite possibly answered with a recent No Reservations episode that saw Bourdain, without his permission or even knowledge, suddenly turned into a de facto Cadillac pitchman.
After discovering that footage from his show was awkwardly repurposed into Cadillac ads, an incensed Bourdain took to Twitter to voice his displeasure—mostly by tweeting sarcastic endorsements like, "There's a dead prostitute in the trunk of my Cadillac," "Wow! I can fit two bodies in full rigor in the trunk [of] a Cadillac! Awesome!" and "Cadillac: The blood and spooge wipe right off!" But, along with quietly pretending they weren't totally relieved that, finally, someone noticed their attention to detail, Cadillac mostly tried to stay out of it, putting the blame for those promos squarely on the Travel Channel, and saying they'd unintentionally been caught up in the feud between the network and its exiting star.
Now Bourdain has weighed in with a more substantial response, confirming that Cadillac isn't to blame (and apologizing for getting blood, spooge, and dead prostitutes all over their product), while more directly taking Travel Channel to task for using his image in clear violation of his contract:
I have had a long and mostly very happy relationship with Travel Channel over the last eight years…But in the last year or so things started to take a definite turn for the worse. There was the news that, unbeknownst to me, the network had decided to add THREE “special episodes “ comprised entirely of clips from previous shows to the final bunch of only seven. Had we not agreed to edit them ourselves, they were well on their way to doing the shows without our participation. Best I can tell, they are, unfortunately, well within their contractual rights to butcher our painstakingly shot and edited footage as they choose. It’s something of a creative signature of the new guard at Travel, best I can tell—to cynically and cheaply “repurpose” existing material to create additional “content”. In such circumstances, as some of my on air colleagues agree, no one wins. Presenters look exploitative and lazy. Fans feel used and misled. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about that.
But I CAN do something when my name and image (such as they are) are used to sell a product without my consent and in violation of prior specific and well crafted legal agreements. And I intend to.
Bourdain doesn't go into specifics about exactly what he plans to do—though if Travel Channel really did violate his agreement, a lawsuit seems likely. So heads up, Travel Channel: Since you're probably already getting sued anyway, you only have a limited time to make promos where it looks like Anthony Bourdain endorses eating farts.
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