Chanel Lee: My Story

There is a very similar situation in Phoenix, Arizona going on as in L.A. I am aware that you may or may not know the people or places involved. I figured it was worth a shot to share my experience to people who are trying to make a difference.

My story pertains to a particular individual whom our community who has been dubbed a “pedigree chef” and is idolized for his accomplishments. But something that hasn’t been brought to light is the fact that he is, without any sugar coating, a rapist. I come to you not looking for sympathy, but rather in hopes to offer some guidance on how to move forward with shedding light on this person and revealing his treatment of women.

In July of 2015 I was sent on a work trip to California to help open a new restaurant. I knew just about everyone I was working alongside with, and could even go as far to say I was friends with the majority. Everything was going fine and well until July 18. It was a Saturday we had all been working such long hours and needed to blow off some steam. The training team went out to a bar and we were all letting loose, dancing and having fun. The girl whom I was rooming with and I decided it was getting late, we were tired and we should go back to the hotel.

After it being sometime of our return, we heard loud music, laughter, and boisterous voices getting closer. There was a knock on our room door and it was that chef with several other people. We explained to him how we were tired and didn’t want to continue hanging out. He proceeded to force himself into our room and the slew of other individuals followed. Both us girls tried very hard to get everyone to leave our room but since they were all inebriated it took more time than either of us liked. Eventually we got them all to leave but because of the amount of peer pressure we left with them. Chris started to act funny around this time. He was becoming increasingly irritable. He would go off by himself occasionally or sit away and pout. Being that Chris and I had been friends for several years I was concerned. I tried talking to him about what was going on. The information I had gathered was how he was upset that the women he had invited all left with different men. My roommate and I still wanted to leave so we told everyone goodbye. The chef and some of the others said they had belongs in our room and wanted to get them. My roommate and I were sitting on our beds once again trying to get people to leave saying how we were exhausted. I told everyone, so I thought, goodbye and gave hugs but I was unable to keep my eyes open and passed out almost immediately.

I am stirred awake in the middle of the night to a sensation in my pubic region. I was so disoriented I couldn’t figure it out, it was almost like I was having a sex dream. I shook it off as me being tired and went back to bed. I woke up again to the same thing but this time I was more conscious and realized someone was definitely fingering me. I was so disoriented that I thought “maybe my roommate is being weird? Is she doing weird sleep things to me?” I had no idea who or what it could be or maybe I was just being super crazy. So I kicked around my legs and moved my body into the fetal position and forced myself to go back to sleep. I woke up a third time and this time it was no dream and I was very aware of the fact I was being fingered and it was abrasive and forceful. I had realized someone was sitting on top of me so I was pinned down. I was laying on my stomach and I turned my head to see who it was on me and it was the chef. He didn’t have pants on and was rubbing his hard penis on my back and butt and was trying to put his penis into my vagina.

Once I fully comprehend what was happening I kicked him off of me. I realized my shorts were no longer on me and my underwear were pulled down to a little higher than my midthigh so I grabbed my phone and a towel and ran out of the room. I went into the ice room near by and hid because I didn’t know if he was going to follow me or what to expect. I called a friend for help and was let into another person’s hotel room where I knew I’d be safe.

It wasn’t until I was in my friends room that I realized I hadn’t checked to see if my roommate was in our room still. I called her and the room several times. My friend called the chef’s phone a lot too. Seeing if we could get ahold of them. Finally my roommate answered the room phone and I told her if the chef was still in there that she need to get out.

We got together and shared a very similar story. We had found out that in between moments of being woken up to sexual assault he would do the same thing to the other person. It was like he was trying to see how far he could go without waking one of us up.

I had hoped that after the assault I could just try to move on and do all the healing I could, and become a stronger woman because of it. Most days that is still my mentality. However, he is opening a restaurant just a hop skip and a jump from my work. . He happens to be opening nearby restaurant, alongside a friend of mine. I had thought after my rape the betrayal would stop, but it continues.

This friend was one of the first people to know what happened on that night last July. He even asked if I was ok to give him as much or as little detail as I felt comfortable with because he was supposed to be opening a restaurant with him and didn’t want to have someone like that working with him. I held nothing back and beard my soul to him. When I came back from California, the same friend whom was my manager at the time pulled me aside and said he would not be moving forward with the chef and was apologetic of what I had gone through. To my surprise the dynamic duo is now back in action! I have not spoken with either of them since. Everyone once in awhile the friend attempts to come into my work but when he sees I’m working leaves.

I am not looking for anything for myself, but rather to help the women that are affected. Attackers do not just attack once, as shown by his actions with my roommate and I. Any females hired are not only in jeopardy but they have a boss who simply knows the truth and chose to turn his head the other way.

Chanel Lee

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