Comedian James Corden has hit out at the "insane" social media response to his temporary ban from a New York restaurant. He told a reporter he had done nothing wrong "on any level" — despite reportedly phoning the restaurant owner to apologise.
Keith McNally, who owns top restaurant Balthazar, said the Gavin and Stacey star had been an "abusive customer" after some errors with his orders. In a social media post Mr McNally said the Late Late Show host was banned after allegedly being "extremely nasty" to staff on two occasions.
The restaurateur later revealed Corden had called and "apologised profusely". Mr McNally said the ban was lifted, adding: "I strongly believe in second chances."
But Corden has now denied any wrongdoing. The 44-year-old told a New York Times reporter that the backlash had not made him think about dropping out of their interview. He said: “I haven’t done anything wrong, on any level. So why would I ever cancel this? I was there. I get it. I feel so Zen about the whole thing. Because I think it’s so silly. I just think it’s beneath all of us. It’s beneath you. It’s certainly beneath your publication.”
The interview took place on Thursday morning at the Mark Restaurant in Manhattan, where Corden discussed a conversation he had overheard at a nearby table. The New York Times reporter wrote that another customer had been "curtly rebuking a waiter about the meal she had ordered" because the eggs were "not to her liking".
The reporter added that Corden "shot a conspiratorial glance across his own table" and quietly said: “Happens every day. It’s happening in 55,000 restaurants as we speak. It’s always about eggs... Can you imagine now, if we just blasted her on Twitter? Would that be fair? This is my point. It’s insane.”
Asked if he was feeling all right, Corden "cagily" replied to the reporter: “About what? What do you mean?”
The Cats actor continued: “I haven’t really read anything. It’s strange. It’s strange when you were there. I think I’m probably going to have to talk about it on Monday’s show. My feeling, often, is, never explain, never complain. But I’ll probably have to talk about it... It feels like such a silly thing to talk about.”
In his original social media post Mr McNally had described Corden as "a hugely gifted comedian, but a tiny cretin of a man". He said the first incident came when Corden ate at Balthazar and allegedly complained about a hair in his food. The restaurateur observed that "although this is diabolical, it happens very occasionally in all restaurants." He said Corden was unpleasant and told the manager: "Get us another round of drinks this second. And also take care of all our drinks so far."
Writing about a second run-in Mr McNally said: "Mr Corden's wife ordered an egg yolk omelette with gruyere cheese and salad. A few minutes after they received the food, James called their server... and told her there was a little bit of egg white mixed with the egg yolk."
Balthazar's staff remade the dish but "unfortunately sent it with home fries instead of salad", he added. "That's when James Corden began yelling like crazy to the server: "You can't do your job! You can't do your job! Maybe I should go into the kitchen and cook the omelette myself!"
Mr McNally described the comedian as being "the most abusive customer" since the business opened 25 years ago. But he later said: "Anyone magnanimous enough to apologise to a deadbeat layabout like me (and my staff) doesn't deserve to be banned from anywhere. Especially Balthazar." You can read more news about James Corden here.