South Carolina

Restaurant owner arrested after dropping pants at event for women-owned businesses, SC cops say

This screenshot shows the exterior of Charleston restaurant One Broad.
This screenshot shows the exterior of Charleston restaurant One Broad. Street View image from February 2017. © 2017 Google

The owner of high-profile restaurant exposed himself next to a group of women during a recent event at his South Carolina business.

On Wednesday, Michael Charles Ray was charged with indecent exposure, according to the Charleston Police Department. He surrendered to police and was taken into custody at 2:30 p.m.

The 48-year-old Folly Beach resident, who owns Normandy Farms Bakery and One Broad restaurant, pulled down his pants at an event featuring women-owned businesses, postandcourier.com reported.

During a Oct. 26 photo shoot at the restaurant, Ray dropped “his pants to his ankles exposing his buttocks and male genitalia,” according to the police report. Ray was in between the camera and three women when he exposed himself.

One of the women told police his naked behind was “approximately 5 inches from her pelvic region,” according to the incident report, which noted Ray left the scene before officers arrived.

“It boils down to me having a horrible lapse in judgment. I’ve always been a ‘life of the party’ person who used irreverence as a way to get a laugh,” Ray said, according to charleston.eater.com. “This attempt at humor was not only ‘not funny’ but it made people uncomfortable.”

In an attempt to make amends Ray made phone calls. Instead of speaking to the women he exposed himself in front of, Ray called one woman’s husband and another woman’s boyfriend, per postandcourier.com.

That did not sit well with Charleston pastry chef Cynthia Wong, who has been nominated for a number of James Beard Awards.

“I can’t figure out which is worse: the behavior or the . . . utter Let’s Call The Husband/ Oh My Bad, Everyone Usually Loves My Creepy Criminal Party Stunts non-apology for it,” Wong posted on Instagram. On Twitter, Wong also called for a boycott of Ray’s business.

“If our food community has a shred of integrity, no one should buy a crumb from Mike Ray again.”

A news release issued Monday on his behalf said Ray is stepping away from running the bakery and restaurant “is seeking counseling,” postandcourier.com reported.

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If you haven’t read this article by @hanna_raskin in the @postandcourier, please do so. Thank you, Hanna, for reporting on this and not letting it get swept into the bin of messed up industry gossip. Thank you, too, for letting the women here stay the focus of their own narrative. Ok Charleston F&Bers, here’s a no-shades-of-gray whatsoever case of what we cannot give a pass on. Unless all the talk last year of bettering our industry was just a bunch of handwringing and lip service, it’s time to put our foot down. This is not a Had too much to drink at the holiday party and made some dirty jokes situation, it’s not a Kept asking an uninterested person out and not reading signals thing, it’s not even sending dick shaped baguettes to a chef who’s made you mad, it’s Indecent Fucking Exposure at a professional women’s event for Christ’s damn sake. Let that sink in for a minute. Everything about this is so awful it veers into the surreal. I can’t figure out which is worse: the behavior or the bullshit utter Let’s Call The Husband/ Oh My Bad, Everyone Usually Loves My Creepy Criminal Party Stunts non-apology for it. Enough is enough is enough. Let’s be crystal clear on this: if we, as a food community have a single shred of integrity, we can’t buy another crumb from Mike Ray. I’m sorry for the collateral damage to people at his businesses, but whether you are buying a pastry at one of the bakeries or if you are a chef ordering his bread for your restaurants, supporting this man with your money is saying that it’s ok for women to endure this garbage and enabling it to continue. No more.

A post shared by Cynthia Wong (@cynthiawongster) on



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