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In the buzzing landscape of Los Angeles’ culinary scene, a chilling story unfolds at the popular Horses restaurant. Co-owner and chef Elizabeth Johnson has lodged alarming accusations against her husband and business partner, Will Aghajanian, alleging he committed domestic violence and animal cruelty.
Source: New York Post/Youtube
According to Johnson, Aghajanian has been responsible for the untimely demise of several of their family cats, an allegation he vehemently denies. These revelations came to light in Johnson’s divorce filing, where she also sought a domestic violence restraining order against her estranged husband. The fallout from these accusations led to Aghajanian stepping down from his daily role at the restaurant in November 2022.
Johnson’s unsettling narrative extends to the alleged physical abuse she claims to have suffered at the hands of Aghajanian. One incident she reported in the filing saw Aghajanian dragging her by the legs across the floor. She claims his mental and psychological abuse kept her from acknowledging the harm done to their pets sooner.
While it’s important to remember that these are allegations pending judicial process, they raise disturbing questions about what happens behind closed doors, even in haute cuisine. The alleged behavior is a jarring contradiction for a restaurant that has earned its reputation on an egalitarian chef system.
Johnson’s focus is now on leading the restaurant and maintaining the team’s commitment to ethical, creative cuisine. While Horses deals with this sensitive situation, the restaurant’s previous controversy is worth noting. Former Spotted Pig restaurateur Ken Friedman, who faced sexual harassment accusations, had initially assisted Horses’ owners with acquiring the lease. The restaurant’s ownership has clarified that Friedman was never a partner or received any compensation.
The couple’s legal battles are ongoing and extend to the custody of their dogs, Pancho, Javi, and Spud. While Aghajanian claims Johnson is fabricating narratives to seize his businesses, his pleas of innocence are juxtaposed against his wife’s disturbing accounts of abuse.
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