We love watching humans be dicks to other humans, and we especially love shows that put it on display.
"Cutthroat Kitchen" is a personal favorite of mine, where sabotages are the central theme to getting ahead and eliminating other Chefs in the show, but I do not consider it to be an emotional endurance challenge as well as a cooking challenge, unlike another show you've probably heard of. Most have watched chef Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, known for being a harsh, and indeed hellish, a competition where we often see chef Ramsay yelling and doing outlandish things for the sake of entertainment...erm, I mean to keep his kitchen running smoothly, of course.
Chef Gordon Ramsay uses the competition and his fame to justify the harsh, destructive criticism, and occasional shaming of the chefs working in his kitchen. Because it's a show, he gets paid to be "extra", and by applauding, we are condoning his actions and encouraging the message that it is okay to make demeaning comments if you are famous.
Where I would really draw the line is when a celebrity would use their fame and competition as an excuse to actually shame a contestant about physical characteristics that have nothing to do with the skills required of the competition. Gordon Ramsay does precisely this when he decides to make a plethora of comments in regards to the weight and shape of a chef in his kitchen.
I agree that this chef was unable to pull his own weight and keep up with the challenges required on the blue team, but Chef Ramsay's comments about Raj's physical experience was completely unfounded and has nothing to do with his ability to cook! The fact that Ramsay took his insults as far as emotionally wearing down a person about physical characteristics out of their control is inexcusable and unacceptable to me. Being a talented and famous chef, Ramsay should be able to make more on-topic comments about Raj's cooking skills.
He creates shock, and we watch because we can't believe he actually said that. In no scenario would you or your boss be allowed to yell in the same manner as Gordon Ramsay. If we saw someone like him in real life, we would swiftly write him off as a rather belligerent man. We know this is wrong to do in real life, so what makes it okay if it occurs on television by someone famous? Without any backlash from viewers, it isn't going to be taken care of.
Ramsay has tried to defend his style, accounting it to just being a part of his personality.
This is a man that has four children, and has been on shows with children and knows not to yell obscenities at them. I remember watching an episode of his show with younger chefs, and it was like discovering Gordon Ramsay's second personality–never before had I seen him not yelling at someone! If that was just his personality, then he would not be able to repress his usual self in front of his younger chefs.
If we saw Gordon yelling at kids, we would not let that fly. Why is the same emotional and verbal trauma entertaining when done to adults? For many of these chefs, cooking is their passion and livelihood and having a talented chef they respect and admire like Gordon Ramsay harshly criticize and belittle their actions, their food, and their own selves are heartbreaking. Chef Gordon Ramsay could learn to practice a little chill, and maybe his kitchen would be a little less hell.
See more for yourself! Here is a short clip from chef Gordon Ramsay's show "Hell's Kitchen" on Youtube!