I guess Hollywood is good for something other than making many undeserving narcissists rich; with help from the group behind The Cove, the recent Oscar winner for Best Documentary Film, the feds confirmed that The Hump, a restaurant here in Los Angeles, (Santa Monica to be exact,) has been serving meat from endangered Sei whales, which is not only illegal, but downright creepy. (Boy, was that place aptly named.) (For deets of the sting, check around the web.)


whaleI’ve been a restaurant critic in Los Angles for very many years now, including hosting my long-running local television show Karen’s Restaurant Revue, and penning columns for a couple of newspapers, and had never eaten at this place. First of all, I don’t eat sushi, and secondly, from the little I knew about them, they were a tad strange for my tastes.

I don’t know if this is still the case, (because I’m just not interested enough in the story to investigate,) but The Hump is/was owned by the owners of the same location Asian eatery, Typhoon. I had eaten at Typhoon several times, and all I can remember of it is the great mashed potatoes. Not exactly a glowing review.

The restaurants shared the same publicity person, (whom I liked a lot,) at least back in the day, and although she sent me very many press releases on The Hump, she never invited me in (which most publicists do, whether or not I take them up on it.) She was always evasive when I mentioned it to her, and said they’re really not into press. (I think her reason was that it was a small space, or something to that effect.) I found that strange: why have a press person, and send out the releases, if you really didn’t the attention? Who knows–maybe they were serving whale the whole time.

We may never know because, in the midst of their legal woes, they closed for good last week-end.

But this is what cracks me up (and the purpose for this column today)–on their website, all of a sudden, they’re whale activists!!! After twelve years of serving who-knows-what (I’m sure the day they got caught wasn’t the first time they served whale,) they posted the following stement on their website:

“After twelve years doing business in Santa Monica, The Hump will be closing its doors effective March 20th, 2010.
The Hump hopes that by closing its doors, it will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species. Closing the restaurant is a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court. The Owner of The Hump also will be taking additional action to save endangered species.
One such action will be to make a substantial contribution to one or more responsible organizations dedicated to the preservation of whales and other endangered species.
The Hump apologizes to our loyal customers, the community of Santa Monica, and the public at large for our illegal actions. While the current difficulties faced by The Hump overshadow the many friendships formed over the years, we want our customers and friends to know how much we thank you for your support.”

They hope that closing the place “will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species”??????? OMG! Are they kidding us with that nonsense?????? How about not serving endangered species to begin with!!! What horrible creeps! Would they have hoped for that had they not been discovered doing something illegal??? Just whom do they think they’re fooling with this fakery?

They’re making like closing is such a noble decision. They need to come off it–no one’s been eating there anyway since the revelation, and they’ve been plagued by daily protesters. But mainly, the parent company and the sushi chef, Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, are facing pretty stiff federal penalties for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes it illegal to sell whale meat: the charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in federal prison (though I can’t figure out just who would serve it–the owners or the chef) and a maximum fine of $100,000 for an individual or $200,000 for an organization. I hope they get the book thrown at them. That’s not because I’m an activist–it’s because I’m so sick of slime-bags, especially rich ones, thinking that they they’re above the law.

But there may be an upside to this: hopefully, Kiyoshiro Yamamoto’s skills with sharp knives will serve him well in the slammer, which is where he’ll most likely ultimately wind-up.





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