The Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, today needed just two four-letter words, and the odd shorter word, to convey his view of the infamously foul-mouthed celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, describing him as a “new form of low life”.
Rudd’s comments follow an escalating war of words since Ramsay mocked the Australian television journalist Tracy Grimshaw on Saturday.
By his own blistering standards, Ramsay was arguably moderate at the weekend: he showed an audience of several thousand at the Melbourne Good Food and Wine show a doctored photograph of a woman naked on all fours, with multiple breasts and a pig’s face, announcing that it depicted Grimshaw, who had interviewed him on the previous night. “That’s Tracy Grimshaw,” he said. “I had an interview with her yesterday, holy crap. She needs to see Simon Cowell’s Botox doctor.”
He also suggested the presenter was a lesbian – producing an instant response on the Samesame gay and lesbian website: “Ramsay is just a little snot with no breeding or class.”
Ramsay’s agent scrambled to explain the remarks were a joke, while a spokeswoman later put out a statement saying the chef realised in retrospect they were “inappropriate and offensive” and that he apologised unreservedly.
Grimshaw was unimpressed. “Obviously Gordon thinks that any woman who doesn’t find him attractive must be gay. For the record, I don’t. And I’m not,” she said on her Monday night show, before the apology. The deputy prime minister, Julia Gillard, said: “I honestly think what he should do is confine himself to the kitchen and make nice things for people to eat rather than make public comments about others.”
Then the prime minister waded in. “All I could describe his remarks as reflecting is a new form of low life,” he said.
“I just think that’s off and offensive. Good on Tracy Grimshaw for coming out and giving him a left upper cut.”
Ramsay said he was “deeply mortified” that his intended joke had been blown out of proportion.