James Corden Offers Awkward And Defensive Apology For His Widely Criticized Behavior

James Corden has reversed his previous statements and now would like to apologize for his alleged treatment of the staff at NYC's Balthazar restaurant.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

James Corden has offered a public explanation regarding the ongoing controversy regarding his behavior at New York City’s famed Balthazar restaurant, albeit one couched in defensive allegations about the business itself. According to CNN, James Corden used his opening monologue on last night’s episode of The Late Late Show to address his brief ban from the restaurant, explain that it was allegedly due to an allergen-related incident, and state that he planned to apologize to the staff of Balthazar in person (though he did not actually do so in the monologue). 

This particular incident is very representative of the way that social media has affected public behavior, particularly those of celebrities who have built brands on appearing chummy and personable, like James Corden. About a week ago, Balthazar owner and chef Keith McNally took to Instagram to accuse the star of Netflix’s The Prom of behaving abusively to the restaurant staff in two separate incidents and that James Corden was banned from the restaurant. Approximately eight hours later, McNally returned to social media to announce that the British comedian had contacted him personally and apologized to him and that he was once again welcome. 

James Corden

This caused some backlash, as many people online commented that James Corden had not actually apologized to the employees he alleged abused, but only to another famous person who had caused a PR issue. This was not helped by the Peter Rabbit star making a subsequent statement to the New York Times in which he then minimized the issue, saying “I haven’t done anything wrong, on any level…I feel so Zen about the whole thing. Because I think it’s so silly. I just think it’s beneath all of us. It’s beneath you.” He also said that he felt he was going to have to address this on Monday, which seems to have been a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

In his Late Late Show monologue, James Corden seemed to switch gears, now claiming that he deeply regretted the incident, felt that he had been “ungracious” to the server in question, and said that because he had been employed as a restaurant server in the past, he could empathize with the person he allegedly had been rude to.

The Ocean’s 8 star also then claimed that the second incident that Keith McNally had referenced was caused by his wife having a serious but unspecified food allergy and that her dish (which she did not eat or touch) had been mis-prepared three times. He did not address the other incident which got him banned in the first place. 

Food allergies have become a hot-button issue for the food industry in recent years, with many haute cuisine restaurants requesting diners to disclose any potential issues and notifications included in menus for the eight major food allergies categorized by the Food and Drug Administration.

As Balthazar is a Michelin-recommended, very famous restaurant that was serving a celebrity, it definitely seems extremely odd (or even unlikely, some might speculate) that it would repeatedly get a single dish incorrect to such a degree, but mistakes do happen. 

However, as James Corden says he did not actually call the server a derogatory name or get out of his seat, he felt he did not do anything wrong at the time, but now, after public backlash, does. We shall have to see whether he follows through on the apologies to the Balthazar staff.