Historic wine country hotel sticks by restaurateur accused of sexual misconduct, despite backlash

Two partners in the landmark Freestone Hotel have announced that they plan to stick by Lowell Sheldon, a Sonoma County restaurateur, despite calls for him to step down in the wake of accusations from former employees of sexual misconduct and a toxic work environment.

Freestone Hotel sticks by restauranteur accused of sexual misconduct

Jeffrey Berlin and his partner Noah Churma told the San Francisco Chronicle that they would opt to keep Sheldon in his role overseeing the redevelopment of the 150-year-old hotel, though it’s noted that the restauranteur will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the venue.

The redevelopment pans include an inn and wine-forward restaurant.

Jeffrey Berlin told the Chronicle that he felt Sheldon was “addressing the mistakes he’s made in the past” and described certain allegations made against him as forming part of an “agenda-based press.

“While I believe wholeheartedly in the dismantling of the patriarchy and shining a spotlight on every manifestation of misogyny in our society, I am not the kind of person that turns his back on a friend when they have made mistakes and are genuinely trying to learn from and correct them,” he continued.

Sheldon was removed from the ownership of three restaurants: Fern Bar, Handline and Khom Loi earlier this year in the wake of the allegations, most of which he denied when they were first made public.

According to The Press Democrat, Sheldon was accused of unwanted touching and inappropriate comments by at least six women, though does not currently face any criminal charges.

“If I didn’t see in him something very sincere and authentic about his response to what happened, I wouldn’t back him,” Berlin told The Press Democrat.

As part of a lengthy statement sent to email subscribers on Tuesday, Sheldon wrote, “I know that I messed up in some very real ways and that my mistakes have rippled out and caused pain around the community.

“My heart is heavy, knowing that I cannot change my past.”

Three of the women who levelled allegations against Sheldon have expressed their disappointment at the partners’ decision to keep Sheldon in his role in the Freestone Hotel’s redevelopment.

H/T: San Francisco Chronicle

Leave your reply

Most Recent Stories

The Savoy announces new head bartender for the American Bar

The Savoy has announced that Chelsie Bailey, currently general manager of London venue Happiness Forgets, will become head bartender at its iconic American Bar, the oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain.

Heatwaves set to increase pub garden dwell time and sell more world lager

Heatwaves this summer are showing how vital outdoor space and beer range are to pub profits as Brits are readied for more sunshine.

New list reveals the UK’s most beautiful vineyards

The UK’s most beautiful vineyards have been listed by South Western Railway (SWR) in time for English and Welsh Wine Week.

Unfiltered: Filippo Carnevale

The head sommelier of Amethyst, Mayfair, is a master of pairing wine with the globally influenced, masterpiece dishes of head chef, Carlo Scotto, as Douglas Blyde finds out…

The Wine List Confidential 2022 guide is now available

The Wine List Confidential guide to the best restaurants for wine in the UK and Ireland is now available to buy. Here's where you can pick up your copy.

Most Recent Stories

The Savoy announces new head bartender for the American Bar

The Savoy has announced that Chelsie Bailey, currently general manager of London venue Happiness Forgets, will become head bartender at its iconic American Bar, the oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain.

Heatwaves set to increase pub garden dwell time and sell more world lager

Heatwaves this summer are showing how vital outdoor space and beer range are to pub profits as Brits are readied for more sunshine.

New list reveals the UK’s most beautiful vineyards

The UK’s most beautiful vineyards have been listed by South Western Railway (SWR) in time for English and Welsh Wine Week.

Unfiltered: Filippo Carnevale

The head sommelier of Amethyst, Mayfair, is a master of pairing wine with the globally influenced, masterpiece dishes of head chef, Carlo Scotto, as Douglas Blyde finds out…

The Wine List Confidential 2022 guide is now available

The Wine List Confidential guide to the best restaurants for wine in the UK and Ireland is now available to buy. Here's where you can pick up your copy.