Sommelier Anthony Cailan Accused of Sexual Assault

Cailian had been known for his work at The Usual and other restaurants

The Usual
Anthony Cailan, sommelier at The Usual, has been accused of sexual assault.
The Usual/Instagram
By Tobias Carroll / November 2, 2019 10:11 am

At the age of 29, Anthony Cailan seemed to be in an excellent place, professionally speaking. He’d achieved fame as the sommelier at several of his brother Alvin’s restaurants, including New York’s The Usual. He appeared on the October cover of Wine & Spirits, with a caption hailing him as someone who would be making his mark in the industry for a long time to come.

Now, other aspects of Cailan’s life have come into focus, creating a more damning portrait of the man. The New York Times is reporting that four women have accused Cailan of sexual misconduct. “In the weeks after the post, four women in Mr. Cailan’s professional circle contacted The New York Times to allege that he had either sexually assaulted them or tried to do so — allegations Mr. Cailan has denied,” Julia Moskin writes.

What emerges from Moskin’s article is a portrait of a man who used his professional contacts and status in a deeply unprofessional and troubling manner: Cailan had previously mentored one of the women involved, and had asked her to move across the country to work for him in New York City. 

Moskin’s article notes that this behavior may only be a fraction of something larger. She writes that, earlier this year, “five of his former co-workers, including his former employer Jill Bernheimer, the owner of the influential wine retailer Domaine LA, sent him an email asking him to stay away from their workplaces.”

In a broader sense, Moskin’s article also points to the world of wine as one that’s extremely male-dominated, with all of the problems that that might cause. A recent article by Victoria James at Eater also charted the ways in which gender and sexism have influenced the industry. On their own, each article is unsettling in its implications. Taken together, it suggests an element of the industry that may be past due for a moral reckoning.

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