Star Sommelier Resigns After Accusations of Sexual Assault

Anthony Cailan no longer works at the Usual in the Nolitan hotel, after a report in which multiple women said he sexually abused them.


Comments: 51

  1. The accusations against Cailan are very disturbing and it's probably best for all concerned that he resigned. However, it's also disturbing that going to the press seems to have replaced going to the police. I don't understand why none of these women attempted to file charges against him. Maybe this isn't the case where this will happen, but at some point a media organization is going to be sued for libel over reporting accusations that are not backed up by official police investigations or even a lawsuit.

  2. Just saying that? Besides, in these cases victims need lawyers, not the police. Unless they are in imminent, immediate harm. If we don’t have a system of justice then there is no justice. Losing a job is not a form of justice. This guy can wait a few weeks and then go get another one. There is NOTHING to prevent him from continuing onwards.

  3. @Matthew There is nothing to stop these women from trying to ruin someone else's career either.

  4. @Wolf There is often a difference between what might be "news"- something in the public's interest- and a crime. People lose jobs all the time for bad behavior. If one is a type of celebrity with influence in one's profession, who has been featured in newspapers and other media, you are a person of public interest and ones problems (especially those attached to one profession) will be reported on just as ones successes have been.

  5. Justice served. Everyone is liable to this. Juries, judges, evidence completely unnecessary.

  6. @Matthew I can't tell if you're being serious or just sarcastic. As a criminal defense attorney, I can't tell you how many times the actual outcome of a case is far far different from the initial headlines, articles, and public comments. There's no excuse for assaultive behavior, be it at the workplace or in private. But there is a world of difference between an accusation and a conviction.

  7. @bauskern Oh My God. As an attorney that presumably passed the bar, I assume you ascribe to the basic tenets of a system of justice.

  8. How is it morally acceptable much less legal for the Times to plaster a person’s name and photo into a forever searchable website, ruining his reputation and career based on ANY accusations or hearsay. This is a complete failure not just of judgement, ethics and competency. It’s a failure to respect your subscribers.

  9. @ Mia San Francisco Where have you been? We live in a society dominated by so-called political correctness, where "All are guilty, unless proven innocent. And then, only the newborn are innocent, but this does not last long".

  10. @Mia not hearsay. Two women went on the record in the New York Times.

  11. @Mia @Mia It is called journalism, fact based reporting that is researched and verified. This is not Faux news or a court of law, he can take his case to both those places if he pleases and seek defamation damages should he be cleared.

  12. Hmm ... There was already an article on this subject last week that drew many comments. Is there anything new? I would say, if this sommelier went on his knees in Time Square, publicly confessed his sins, and begged forgiveness, it might have been worth reviving the suspect.

  13. Sunshine disinfects.

  14. This is what we have come to. I am in no way in favor of harassment or discrimination of any kind having been the victim of the latter my entire life, but when mere accusations without trial equals someone being canceled, we have truly lost our way. I am not a very trusting person to begin with, and seeing how a mere accusation can destroy a person’s career and life, I have arrived at a point in life where I limit my daily contact with those I’m not familiar with.

  15. @Bill : These aren't "mere accusations." Women pay dearly for speaking up, so no one does it lightly. Women who speak up are routinely vilified, in person and on social media; they're pushed off their career path, or fired; some are shunned industry-wide, losing the ability to earn a living. Some are stalked and threatened, such as Dr. Blasey Ford, who had to move to a new home. And all are traumatized not just once, by the assault, but then again and again by the hostile response to their speaking up. There's nothing "mere" about what happens to women who are brave enough to speak up -- and your use of the word not once but twice, coupled with your passive-aggression (I must protect myself from these liars!) suggests that you're one of the many men who haven't yet learned that women's bodies are not public property to be touched, commented on, leered at, catcalled, sniffed, etc. The problem is the men who refuse to acknowledge boundaries, not the women who speak up about the men who cross those boundaries.

  16. @Allison It's not social change, it's mob mentality, and it sells papers, so they have dropped all standards and entered the fray. How dare you support it. Rare? I don't think so. It's a cascade.

  17. @Bill Before these accusations were made regarding Mr. Cailan, people across the wine industry had heard stories about him being a sexual predator. It takes tremendous strength to assign one's name to an accusation. These women are courageous. How many people do you know who have been accused of behavior that has destroyed "a person's career and life..." Let that knowledge guide your decisions on how you view people in general.

  18. Excellent followup. I often wonder what happens after Times stories.

  19. The NYTimes reported a story that multiple people experienced similar, abusive treatment by someone who had power and reputation in his field. I can’t say if the abuse rose to the level of a crime. If a person’s behavior doesn’t rise to the level of criminal, should he have kept his job? I know that I don’t want to spend my money in a restaurant (or movie) where these people work.

  20. @Donna: Most people can be fired for no reason whatsoever. And people have been fired for lesser than multiple complaints of abusive treatment. In short, People lose jobs for non-criminal reasons all of the time.

  21. Sexual harassment and assault ARE crimes.

  22. How can someone whose job consists of serving wine (in other words, a waiter) be a "star"? It doesn't take much skill or talent to bring a bottle of wine to a table and pour it.

  23. @Jonathan Katz A sommelier is an expert, not a waiter. So I don't agree with you there. But I do wonder how he got to be a "star." There must have been a whole lot of promotion and marketing of/by this guy.

  24. @Jonathan Katz those of us who don’t live in Manhattan , LA or San Francisco don’t understand how a person who selects wine can be a star. This kind of glamour is reserved for the true 1%. Need a tax here somewhere.

  25. @ Jonathan Katz St. Louis Each industry, each field of human activity makes its "stars", to show its presumed importance in the society. Not that much different from a Nobel Prize, Oscar, The Best Chef in ..., The Best Confectioner, etc.

  26. I sincerely hope this kind of life dismantling based on allegations stops. This is not a win for women and it’s going to backfire.

  27. Why don't more women speak up? Because of many people like the ones who comment on this page.

  28. @Imagine Some crass commenters on this page do contribute to the problem, but to wrongly claim that is the "reason" more women don't come forward is naive. The relationship one has with the offender has a strong effect on the likelihood of a person reporting abuse. Additionally, fear of reprisal, believing it is not important enough to report, or thinking that the police would not do anything to help are more likely factors in people coming forward.

  29. @Palmer : Even women who do report often not believed and dismissed out of hand. Rape kits sit on shelves. Blasey Ford had to go into hiding due to death threats. Many reasons women do not come forward. And rapists and abusers use this to their advantage. Every day.

  30. "None of Mr. Cailan’s accusers worked at the Usual"...??? One woman was a prospective hire and the other was a wine rep who worked closely with the restaurant, but I guess that's one way to try to skirt legal responsibility....

  31. All goes to show how silly and uninformed celebrity worship is. Destroy your idols.

  32. "Star"? Really? No one I know has ever heard of this guy, nor anyone else who pours wine for a living.

  33. "Anthony Cailan, 29, is alleged to have sexually assaulted," Alleged. So the NYT publishes unfounded allegations for which an accused has neither been charged nor convicted. Then the NYT publishes a follow-up to crow about the damage his career has taken. Wow.

  34. I was a waitress and 8-10 places the bosses would do inappropriate touching, pressuring us young girls to go out with them. I would quit. At 19 I knew that I didnt want to face that everyday. I didnt report them because they were the owners, most the time and they hit on everyone. Women dont report these matters when they have no faith in cops. They would of laughed me right out of the station if I reported the guys.

  35. How does one become a Celebrity Sommelier?

  36. Women on the job have routinely been pawed, probed, raped, threatened, pinched, grabbed, hauled into private spaces to be subjected to abuse, and suddenly lost their jobs after resisting this behavior. Every woman has at least one story. Yet many men in these comments rush to denounce unfairness to the perpetrators. It’s their first thought, after—perhaps—some cursory lip service to the victims. Yeah, it’s a bummer to have crimes exposed and lose impunity. Try to behave better and find empathy with victims rather than your own cohort. Try to imagine the fear and tension of going to work with the daily anxiety of what your superior will try next on your body.

  37. Women will continue to name men informally until our justice system takes sexual assault seriously. Like actually processing rape exam kits. And actually investigating these reports. Too many women are ignored or dismissed out of hand even when they do report, get the exam, etc. If you're a good man who does not assault women (and that's most of you), you have no need to be concerned. But the men who engage in these behaviors tend to do so in a serial manner. And they will be outed. Women are tired of not being taken seriously.

  38. There seem to be a lot of commenters here that disbelieve the several women who claim to have been assaulted but choose to believe the man who is in the authoritative position. Same old eons old attitude.

  39. As soon as there are repercussions for men's abuse against women, folks start crying out about ethics and the law and the man's reputation! No one talks about the pain and suffering these women have endured, not to mention job impacts, because of this one man. No one talks about the additional trauma women endure when they report these incidents and then endure a court proceeding and scrutiny as if they're also on trail. No one talks about the cops not believing them. No one talks about fixing the system. And of course, the implication is that they're all liars, all four of them, with the same story. Good riddance. He deserves worse.

  40. It's so disheartening that several women who report similar things regarding the same man are dismissed and sympathy is rushed to the poor man who simply lost his job. Women do not meet in cabals to target man for fun. People don't believe a woman 'if she'd the only one' and they don't believe it when 'there are too many women reporting on the same man." Some people just hate women. Or think men should be able to do whatever they want without consequence.

  41. @Anne - I would like to see how quickly a man might report being sexually assaulted and then being scrutinized by the media both mainstream and social.

  42. @Bob Y Totally missing the point. I can only imagine they would be taken very seriously since they are..wait for it....men.

  43. If you are going to ruin someone, at least file charges.

  44. What is it with these alleged sexual assaults? Why weren't the police notified? Sexual assault is a crime.

  45. @John — Fear of professional and personal backlash? Fear of having to publicly accuse a well-known person with a good standing within his field? Fear of the scrutiny and publicity for doing so? Fear of not being believed, or worse, falling prey to victim blaming? There are many reasons why these assaults aren’t reported when one person is subordinate to the other, whether that subordination is actual or perceived. It’s all about power, as it is abused, more so than the sexual advance itself. In large part, that is what these men have been counting on for years to keep their actions hidden and their reputations intact. It takes courage to come forth in such a climate that is, thankfully, beginning to change.

  46. it amazes me that someone even still asks that question. there are questions to ask about these situations, but that is not one of them.

  47. @MDB okay, fine. but why make allegations to a newspaper and not the police? unfortunately, my sense is that a lot of accusers feel that public shaming is an easier, more effective way to get the justice they seek, rather than having to actually work through the criminal justice system, which believes in innocence until guilt is proven (proven being the key word here). also interesting that these women did not make their allegations to the NYT until the accused appeared on a magazine cover; somehow his professional success, it seems, made his supposed crimes more abhorrent. sorry to say, but extrajudicial, media-based shaming has become the go-to playbook for these cases, which should make everyone at least mildly uncomfortable, because the media does not seem particularly interested in establishing the facts; for them, allegations are enough. if these are serious crimes then they should be treated as such; if they're not, then they're not.

  48. Woman have been denied due justice since the dawn of time so I’m not terribly bothered by a few powerful men being outed for boorish and criminal behavior without due process.

  49. I was particularly struck by this line in the article, "Some said there are many more offenders, more powerful than Mr. Cailan, who remain protected by silence and fear." What an indictment on the wine business/industry, and I sincerely hope that these offenders (who should be called predators) more 'powerful' than Mr. Cailan will be outed! It will take an enormous amount of strength and conviction, not just from the victims who should be protected, but voices should be heard from all the people (men and women) that work in the industry.

  50. Without commenting on Mr. Cailan specifically, let me counter the comments that imply "Only for the Coastal 1%", or wonder how one could be a "star" sommelier. Take a look at the wine list of the restaurant Mr. Cailan just left, at the list he put together. Many, many bottles of unfamiliar wines, a great majority of them available for under $100, some as low as $45. It may not be your thing to pay that for wine, but it certainly doesn't require one to have a Goldman Sacs expense account. Now, if you did happen to enjoy the sensory experience of sampling different wines, wouldn't it great to have a trusted adviser to guide you to great wine, at reasonable prices? And wouldn't that adviser (sommelier) likely grow a reputation among those who are Foodies? (Winos?) Just saying. The personal situation described here is horrific, but don't dismiss an entire industry as being elite and snobbish, simply because it's not your thing.

  51. They’re all ‘stars’...until they’re not.