Harrah’s New Orleans _lowres

Advocate file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Harrah’s New Orleans Casino at the foot of Canal Street.

As the headlines spread about sexual harassment allegations in the Besh Restaurant Group, the Besh name swiftly came down from one of its restaurants.

Besh Steak, inside Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, was the second oldest restaurant in chef John Besh's company, dating back to 2003. In a statement, Harrah’s confirmed today that it is “terminating its relationship with the restaurant group.” The news was first reported by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.

The move came in response to an exposé from NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune writer Brett Anderson documenting allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment from the top down at Besh Restaurant Group.

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Dan Real, general manager of the casino, wrote that the restaurant remains open and will soon have a different name.

“The Harrah’s New Orleans management team takes the harassment allegations against the Besh Restaurant Group very seriously and to the best of our knowledge none of those allegations pertain to Besh Steak located in the Harrah’s New Orleans Casino,” Real wrote in a statement. “It is important to note that the restaurant employees work for and are managed by Harrah’s New Orleans, not the Besh Restaurant Group. Harrah’s New Orleans maintains a robust human resources department and processes, including a toll-free anonymous ethics and compliance hotline which allows employees to report concerns and allegations.”

The NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune story, posted Saturday, shared accounts from current or former female employees at Besh Restaurant Group describing a culture of sexual harassment.

The report cited two women who had filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, while a number of others said they had quit over an allegedly hostile work environment. One revelation from the story was that the company, with some 1,200 employees and a dozen restaurants, only recently created a human resources department.

Besh Steak has always been run differently from other restaurants in the Besh company because it is part of the casino. But it was the first expansion for Besh beyond his original Restaurant August, located just across the street, and it proved an early incubator of talent for his company. Alon Shaya, the chef who went on to win James Beard Foundation awards and has had his own high-profile split with the Besh company, first came to New Orleans to work at Besh Steak in 2003.

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.