Guy Fieri has built a widely recognized brand as a restaurateur and TV personality on the Food Network.
His celebrity status has afforded him a large following of fans. From his Facebook page that has 185,326 likes to his Twitter following of 770,231, Fieri’s brand is well-established, successful and appetizing to many.
So when New York Times critic Pete Wells blasted Fieri’s new 500-seat Guy's American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square, in what many describe as a “scathing” tone, the review quickly became a hot topic, spreading from social media to late-night talk television.
Fieri's response: Attack the attacker. Fieri took a red-eye flight on Nov. 15 to appear on the Today Show and talk about the review. The spiked-haired star used his celebrity status to secure a spot on a national show, where he said, "I think we all know what's going on here, I mean [Wells] came in with a different agenda," and that the review was "ridiculous."
This kind of Nixonian, paranoid response wouldn't work for all brands, but in Fieri's case, he has an army of supporters that he can tap for sympathy. He activated a fan base he has spent years building.
Fieri has received online support from fans on Facebook and Twitter, and with the new restaurant in question having been open just two months, the harsh review may actually work in his favor as the news generated has put him and his restaurant in a bright spotlight.
Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson