TikTok chef’s resurfaced tweets about Black women spark backlash

VICUSCHKA

With more than 250,000 followers and 2.7 million likes, Chef Way grew to stardom on TikTok for his cooking videos. But now, the social media influencer who is an assistant district attorney in Texas is facing backlash for his previous comments belittling Black women — particularly those with dark skin.

In a series of deleted tweets that date back to 2015 from @WaymoTheGod, Chef Way, whose real name is Waymond Wesley, posted demeaning photos and made misogynistic comments about Black women. In one resurfaced tweet, Wesley shared a photo of a Black woman, calling her “too dark.” In another tweet, he also posted a photo of a Black woman alongside a photo of a dumpster, comparing the two and writing that he saw "no difference.”

His comments are causing backlash from many Black women on social media, like Twitter user @FromAerin, who have resurfaced screenshots of the old tweets and account, both of which have been deleted. One user said she witnessed Wesley’s tweets “in real time” and that he “bullied dark skinned Black women and girls to the point where they deleted their accounts.”

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In a tweet, another user said that Wesley caused “immeasurable” harm by harassing Black women and girls and that his “accountability is long overdue.”

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Since the tweets have been resurfaced by users, Wesley issued an apology from his @ChefWay__ Twitter account last week acknowledging his past comments.

“To those I’ve hurt with my past tweets that have resurfaced, I am deeply sorry,” he wrote. “That was a moment in my life where I was sick in more ways than one. Cooking saved me. You have watched a flawed man heal. I will continue to heal and learn. Thanks for being along for the journey.”

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While many are angered at Wesley’s past comments, some are giving him a chance to redeem himself. In a statement issued to ABC News from Harris County, Texas, District Attorney Kim Ogg she stated how Wesley, who works in her office, is still recovering from past issues and that she is a “believer in second chances.”

“Mr. Wesley has explained that these posts came during a period in which he was struggling with serious personal issues, including alcohol addiction,” the statement read. “Prior to joining our office, Mr. Wesley went through treatment and has worked with the State Bar of Texas to resolve his issues. His recovery is ongoing. I am a believer in second chances, and Mr. Wesley has conducted himself professionally since joining our staff. I am confident that will continue.”

Ogg’s office has not replied to NBC News’ request for comment.

Nonetheless, some companies have cut ties with Wesley in his capacity as a social media chef, including food and travel network Tastemade and Anova Culinary, a cooking company based in San Francisco. Anova CEO Stephen Svajian announced Monday on Twitter that the company was ending its affiliation with Wesley “asap” and that he doesn’t represent the values of the brand.

“I believe that brands are about values. We want to partner with individuals that reflect our own values,” Svajian tweeted. “Chef way clearly does not represent the values that we hold dear. Thanks to those that called this out. We need to do a better job vetting people that represent our brand.”

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Despite Wesley’s apology, and the statement from the DA’s office, many on social media say his previous actions remain unforgivable.

“Women of color have been too forgiving in the past, which put some of us in undesirable positions and unhealthy situations,” one user tweeted. “Accepting this apology may not be in our best interests at this time.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com