George Calombaris suffers embarrassing gaffe with new endorsement

Gillian Wolski
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Former MasterChef judge George Calombaris has made a rather embarrassing gaffe by flogging a car dealership called Remunerator less than a year after his highly-publicised wage theft scandal.

The 41-year-old celebrity chef appeared in a video spruiking the Aussie business that was shared to both Remunerator’s and his personal Instagram account on Wednesday.

Remunerator, according to its website, specialises in ‘novated leasing,’ an arrangement that allows an employer to supply an employee with a motor vehicle via salary packaging.

George Calombaris' Remunerator car ad after wage theft scandal. Photo: Instagram/remunerator.

The word ‘remunerator,’ however, is near indistinguishable from ‘remunerate’ which means ‘to pay (a person) a suitable equivalent in return for goods provided, services rendered, or losses incurred’.

George’s decision to promote Remunerator six months after he was found to have failed to remunerate his own restaurant staff to the tune of almost $8 million could be seen as quite the PR blunder.

In the short clip, George is seen standing behind a red 4WD covered in Remunerator branding but appears to have trouble getting his mouth around the word.

George Calombaris' Remunerator car ad after wage theft scandal. Photo: Instagram/gcalombaris.

“I can’t pronounce it, that’s why I’m pointing to it,” he says.

“I’ll be straight with you. I am not an ambassador, I just believe in what they’re doing and their ethics,” he adds.

He goes on to reveal that Remunerator got him a ‘cracking deal’ on his own car, a Mini, before plugging the brand’s feel-good message.

For every car order made before the end of February, Remunerator will donate $250 to the Salvation Army to support the bushfire relief, he explained.

“Every bit helps,” he signed off.

George has been contacted for a comment.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Celebrity chef George Calombaris talks to media as he leaves Downing Centre Local Court on September 8, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The celebrity chef was charged with assault following an altercation at the A-League grand final in May. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/WireImage)

George’s difficult year

Last year was a difficult one for the famous chef, who was found to have underpaid staff in his many restaurants by $7.8 million over the years.

In August 2018, an emotional George begged the public not to abandon his restaurants, after diners snubbed many of his establishments in the wake of his wage theft scandal.

George has been dogged by the fallout of the payment controversy, dumped from a lucrative tourism deal, and forced to make a $200,000 “contrition payment”, in addition to back-paying 515 workers who were underpaid.

And in July came the explosive news that George along with fellow MasterChef judges, Matt Preston, and Gary Mehigan, would be leaving the acclaimed series after 11 seasons.

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