Food Network banned a food historian from using the word “slavery” on-air

In a recent editorial for The Washington Post, culinary historian, chef, and self-proclaimed “food nerd” Dan Kohler detailed his experiences while developing a TV pilot for the Cooking Channel (sister network to the Food Network, owned by Discovery, Inc.). Kohler recounts that producers dissuaded him from making any mention of slavery or enslavement for a show he was developing in 2017 on the international roots of American dishes. According to Kohler, producers asked him to avoid talking about anything “controversial,” including references to the global slave trade, which was instrumental in bringing non-Native ingredients to American shores. On another occasion, Kohler was asked to refer to the large cargo ships used for transporting enslaved peoples as “16th-century cruise liners.” “Over the years, producers’ most common argument to me against talking about slavery was that the network isn’t political,” writes Kohler. Food Network executives have their own version of events: “This is inconsistent with what producers who have worked with Dan recall,” one spokesperson wrote. 

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