What's the world coming to when a celebrity chefs are accused of selling bogus knives? We'll find out just what happens to those chefs as Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse navigate a lawsuit claiming knife fraud.
The pair, along with the Home Shopping Network, are being accused of selling knives made in China under the pretense they were steel knives from Solingen, Germany - a region known the ''City of Blades.'' The lawsuit was brought forward by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Wuppertal-Solingen-Rumscheid, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The plaintiffs are owners of the Solingen name, which they say is synonymous with ''the finest quality in German cutlery.'' They claim the knives in question have ''Solingen,Germany'' stamped on one side while the other states the were made in China. The complaint cites ''willful and deliberate infringement and misappropriation of the Solingen certification mark.''
The alleged counterfit knives were sold on HSN under the Emeril Lagasse brand, which is owned by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. The chamber is seeking an injunction preventing the sale of the knives and up to $2 million for every trademark infringement, which could quickly add up since HSN runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and reaches an estimated 96 million homes, according to Forbes.
The lawsuit cites a product review on HSN's website as proof of the poor quality of the knives. An unhappy consumer who purchased a 5-inch Santouku knife wrote: ''I'm disappointed in the video when Emeril stated the Santouku knife was made in Germany. This is the main reason I made the purchase. Come to find out it was made in China. That is terrible when a top chef lies to you on TV. Wish I would have known. Emeril cannot be trusted with what he advertises.''
The 22-page complaint made available by the Hollywood Reporter states that ''products made in Solingen are of a particularly high quality with high-grade materials.'' We're guessing that means they would be ''rusting and breaking in half,'' as other disgruntled shoppers have complained.
This is not Martha's first brush with the law. In 2004, she was sentenced to five months in prison after being convicted on charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice.