Marco Rubio Goes After Celebrity Chef

Senator denounces Salt Bae for celebrating his lavish dinner for Venezuelan dictator
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2018 1:32 PM CDT
Marco Rubio Goes After Celebrity Chef
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is angry at a chef who owns a restaurant in Miami.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

If people hadn't heard of the celebrity chef Salt Bae before now—he is Internet famous for his distinctive way of salting meat—a series of slams from Marco Rubio is helping change that. The Florida senator went after the Turkish chef, real name Nusret Gokce, because Salt Bae hosted Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro at his restaurant in Istanbul and then boasted about it in a since-deleted video, reports the Observer. In Rubio's first tweet, he calls Salt Bae a "weirdo" and lodges his big complaint: Maduro is "the overweight dictator of a nation where 30% of the people eat only once a day & infants are suffering from malnutrition." Then Rubio makes the Florida connection. Noting that Salt Bae has a restaurant in Miami, Rubio posted the steakhouse's address and phone number and suggested that people call. He also added a critical tweet in Spanish.

The senator took some flak for posting the restaurant's number, with some accusing him of "doxxing" Salt Bae and violating Twitter's harassment policies. The Washington Post, however, notes that Twitter has no restrictions about posting the phone number of public facilities such as a restaurant. Rubio also pushed back against the critics, saying Salt Bae deserved it for trying to score PR off "a criminal that is systematically starving the people of Venezuela." (Rubio is referring to conditions like this.) The Miami Herald notes that this isn't Salt Bae's first brush with controversy: The chef dressed up as another dictator reviled by many, Fidel Castro, soon after opening his restaurant in Miami. Rubio's parents were born in Cuba. (More Marco Rubio stories.)

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