A British cookbook author has apologized for offensive comments he made that led to his publisher dropping him as a client.
On Aug. 15, Twitter user @chloejayde_ posted a snippet of an Instagram Live by food personality John Clark, who is known as "The Meal Prep King." In the video, Clark can be heard saying several derogatory statements.
“John Clark aka The Meal Prep King — this man is vile! Get this shared everywhere, he does not deserve a following,” @chloejayde_ tweeted, adding that “this is just a small snippet of the derogatory language used.”
“But you must admit … women want to self-sabotage men. F--- off,” Clark says at one point in the video.
According to many former fans of Clark sharing their shock on TikTok, Twitter and elsewhere on social media, during the Instagram Live, he could be heard saying several racist, misogynistic and classist statements.
In response to a fan telling him they were "heartbroken" because of these statements, he said, "No need to be heartbroken, I’m not really this bad in general but I am … certain things."
When another person asks Clark to “have some respect for females,” he replies, “Nope, you’re all f------ scruffy c----s.” At another point in the video, he repeats the phrase “f------ scruffy c----s” before appearing to hock a loogie off-screen.
“I’ll tell you what, it keeps a following. People love it,” Clark says while reading concerned and critical comments from users who joined him on his Instagram Live, seemingly referring to the off-color comments he made. Clark later reposted an Instagram Story from a user who was fiercely critical of the statements he made.
Clark did not respond to TODAY's request for comment, but he has since apologized for his comments in an Instagram he posted on Sunday, nearly a week later.
In the post, Clark said that his actions stem from mental health issues and alcoholism.
“I feel I need to be completely honest with followers and I want to state first and foremost this isn’t easy. But I feel an explanation is needed,” John Clark said in an Instagram caption along with a graphic of World Mental Health Day, which is coming up on October 22.
“I have mental health issues,” he said, adding that he’s struggled to share these issues with his audience.
“I’ve lost my girlfriend my dignity and a lot more besides,” Clark said. He also admits that he has drunk “to excess” to help his mental state, as a way of self-medicating. “Clearly I thought I could control. I simply can’t,” he said.
Clark ended his apology by saying he loves his followers and is really proud of how many people he and partner Charlotte Deniz have helped, and said that while he is no longer dating her, he is “so proud of her.”
“I’ve let so many people down and for that I’m truly sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt any one directly I really mean that,” Clark said. “Especially charlotte she’s amazing.”
“I’m an alcoholic and I have been suffering for a long time with mental problems. And it really saddens me to have to say this but I’m sorry," he continued.
Clark said he’s leaving social media for now and is going to try and focus on himself, adding that he will be taking a “massive break” from Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
“When your [sic] in the public eye everything’s on show. No one tells you how to deal with it,” he said, saying at more than one point that he is going to check into a rehabilitation center for his issues. “If I have offended you sorry. If you take offence to everything I’m sorry also my mental health is at the worst it’s ever been and I’m shocked how bad it’s got.”
“This hasn’t been easy to say and thanks to all those who support me. Mental health and addiction is a hard thing to admit,” he concluded his post.
Clark and Deniz lost a combined weight of “15 stone,” or 210 pounds, through a diet plan they developed, according to a now-removed page describing the authors on U.K. publisher Penguin Michael Joseph.
“Penguin Michael Joseph is appalled by John Clark’s unacceptable behaviour,” a Penguin spokesperson told TODAY Food in an email last week. “We do not have any more books under contract with John and will not be working with him in future.”
Clark’s cookbooks have sold more than 25,000 copies, landing him a spot on the Sunday Times Bestseller List and appearances on the BBC. In addition, Clark, under "The Meal Prep King" moniker, still has more than 1.6 million followers on TikTok and 412,000 on Instagram.
In Clark's controversial Instagram Live, he can be seen wearing a tee from British health food company Eatlean, a company he’s worked with in the past. The company issued a statement on its Instagram Story distancing itself from the author, and deleted every video Clark appeared in on its YouTube channel.
“We’d like to make it known to Eatlean community that we are aware of the offensive actions that are taking place on an unrelated Instagram account today,” reads Eatlean’s statement. “It’s important that we strongly expect our zero tolerance stance on offensive messaging of any kind. We are no longer involved or affiliated with the individual. We as a brand will continue to stand firm on this.”
Clark's books appear to be removed from many British retailers, including his former publisher and Amazon UK, although his books appear to still be for sale on Amazon in the U.S. at the time of this writing. Additionally, some on social media are saying that Amazon has provided them with refunds for Clark’s books, while others are claiming they haven't had the same luck. Amazon declined to comment to TODAY.
Ultimately, many of those who followed “The Meal Prep King” before the controversy took to social media to share their disappointment, with some saying Clark’s diet regimen actually made a difference in their lives. This includes one TikTok user whose words echoed the sentiment of a contingent of his now-former fans.
“It’s become painstakingly obvious that he doesn’t give a crap about anyone who buys his products or anything like that,” said user @lorinbarrfitness in a TikTok about the controversy. “He was just in it for the money and that’s actually really sad.”
EDITOR’S NOTE (Aug. 23, 2022 at 1:42 p.m. ET): This story has been updated to include John Clark's apology posted on his Instagram.