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What George Calombaris needs to do to save his image

Celebrity chef George Calombaris is under pressure after the Fair Work Ombudsman fined him $200,000 for underpaying workers by almost $8 million.

He’s been dropped from a West Australian tourism campaign and there are calls for him to be dumped from popular cooking program, Masterchef.

The season finale of Masterchef airs tonight, and The Age columnist Jenna Price says George needs to act now to save his reputation.

“It’s what he needs to do tonight before Masterchef that’s really important,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“He needs to get on air … dressed in black like all those people the show routinely humiliates time after time and say, ‘look, I did the wrong thing”.

Ms Price said George needs to apologise to the workers he underpaid and send a message to the hospitality industry more broadly.

“He’s got to talk about how he understands that (underpaying) was a loss to those people then, and actually he can never repay them,” she said.

“The big problem here is we often hear about workers being underpaid, but we never hear of them being overpaid.”

But Ms Price said it may be too late for George to save his reputation.

“I’m not sure whether he can rebuild himself,” she admitted.

“Unless he does a lot of mea culpa over the next couple of years its going to be very difficult for people to trust him.”

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