Balthazar's Keith McNally Is No Stranger To Bizarre Internet Scandal

If you've never heard of Keith McNally before the last week, you're probably one of many. However, since his public banning of James Corden from his popular New York restaurant, Balthazar — and then unbanning after the comedian apologized, you'll probably remember his name. Maybe you'll even go and check out the restaurant the next time you're in the Big Apple because of its notoriety. Yet, while you may be wondering if this was a publicity stunt, you may be surprised to hear that this isn't the first time the restaurateur has expressed his opinion. 

According to Bon Appetit, McNally has been "causing controversy for decades". The Wall Street Journal reports that the Balthazar owner has been writing his memoir for the past four years. It was recently accepted by the Simon & Schuster publishing house, but he's also found an outlet for his stories on Instagram. One subscriber, as if feeding the flame, told him, "I hate you personally, but I'm addicted to your Instagram." However, McNally also said, "80% of Instagram posts are lies. People post stories and photos of how they want to be seen by others, not of how they really are. Mine included. But at least I recognize it and try to change it." Yet, this hasn't stopped the restaurateur from controversial posts over the years.

McNally's controversial opinions have caused backlash in the past

Keith McNally owns restaurants Balthazar, Pastis, Minetta Tavern, and Morandi. You may recognize some of these — especially Pastis, as it became famous during the "Sex in the City" years. However, his restaurants attract a large selection of celebrities, according to Bon Appetit. These include former Vogue editor, Anna Wintour – who's caused her own brand of terror in NY restaurants — plus Madonna, Andy Warhol, and Robert De Niro, amongst many others. 

While many restaurant owners may go by the old business adage "the customer is always right," McNally aims to demonstrate that interactions at his restaurants are a two-way street and doesn't hold back. One-star reviews from food critics won't see the Balthazar owner being humble and doing his best to make things right. Instead, they cause abusive letters calling critics "bald" and "fat," per Bon Appetit. 

His no-filter approach to Instagram posts has meant being in the spotlight, not for his restaurants but for seemingly being in support of those accused of sex offenses. Insider reports that McNally is an associate of Jeffrey Epstein and posted that accused sex offender, Ghislaine Maxwell should be given a fair trial. "Due Process is the core of democracy," he wrote. While McNally is entitled to his opinion, it didn't stop commenters from vowing to never eat at his restaurants again.