File this under “Really?!” A few weeks back, famed angry white man and world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay was spotted wearing a bulletproof vest and filming next to a slew of people sporting Colombian officers’ uniforms. Only he wasn’t in that South American country. He was actually in a suburb of London. As The Telegraph quite colorfully put it, “Dog walkers and passers-by looked on in bemusement as the foul-mouthed star shot a scene that appeared to depict him travelling through bandit country crawling with guerrillas.” We know what you’re thinking: “What the hell?”
Turns out, the Kitchen Nightmares reality star has, inexplicably, shot a hard-hitting documentary about Colombia for ITV. And he was at Wimbledon shooting promo material for the documentary, where as The Telegraph describes it, he “was filmed being driven in the back of a military-style Land Rover bearing the word POLICIA, followed by a second vehicle carrying men with fake assault rifles and uniforms identical to those worn by the Colombian police.” You know, just a regular, commonplace scene that could take place anywhere and at any time in Colombia. Cue eye roll.
The two-part docu series, which will air later this year, focuses on the impact of the drug trade in the country. Because, of course his chef training makes him uniquely qualified to take on the subject [sarcasm font]. Back when it was announced Ramsay seemed very happy to share how excited he was to be heading to this very “scary and dangerous and violent” country. “I’ve been in a safety briefing here all morning for something pretty hostile,” he told a reporter back in March, “we’re going into Colombia.”
So, to recap: not only will we have to wait to see what kind of probing documentary on the Colombian drug trade the man behind Hell’s Kitchen has cooked up, but the project is firmly being marketed as “white guy heads to hostile, cartel-riddled country.” We don’t want to say that we already know we’re gonna hate this entire project, but this kind of blatantly misleading and fear-stoking rhetoric and imagery does not give us hope. I mean, we know pop culture is obsessed with only depicting Colombia as some sort of drug-peddling war-torn country (hi Narcos!) but surely we could do with less sensationalistic headline-grabbing stunts like these, no? Especially after the government and the FARC signed a historic peace accord, let’s focus on peace, not violence.