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Keith Lee responds to Chad ‘OchoCinco’ Johnson’s criticism about his Atlanta food reviews

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

(CNN) — Keith Lee believes Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson is “completely entitled” to his opinions, even though Lee does not agree with some of them.

The former football player took exception to Lee’s critiques of some Black-owned restaurants in Atlanta and expressed that during a recent appearance with former player/sports commentator Shannon Sharpe on an episode of “Nightcap with Unc & Ocho” YouTube series.

Sharpe brought up some recent conversation about Lee’s reviews and Johnson expressed his dislike.

“I don’t like the fact of what he’s doing. I don’t like the critiquing of our restaurants and having people, and talking bad about our god**** businesses,” Johnson said. “You know how hard it is for us to even get in the food industry and to have our own restaurants. What are we doing?”

Lee, a popular TikTok food critic, went viral after posting a series of reviews on Atlanta restaurants that included information about how he was unable to get food at some of the establishments.

Those videos resulted in social media commentary about the Southern city’s customer service in the restaurant industry, death threats from those who were upset about Lee’s comments and even rapper Cardi B weighing with her own difficulties with service at some area restaurants.

During his conversation with Sharpe, Johnson questioned whether Lee was even qualified to be conducting restaurant reviews.

Lee took to his TikTok account, which has more than 14 million followers, to address Johnson’s comments, sharing part of the conversation between Johnson and Sharpe.

“To me, it seems like you have no idea who I am. And again, that’s okay with me,” Lee said of Johnson.

“My main point was my qualifications. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been a professional fighter for almost 10 years,” said Lee, who has been a mixed martial arts competitor. “I’ve traveled the world eating food.”

Lee labeled himself “a foodie” and said his reviews resonate because he is “authentic” and is a “normal person.” He also disagreed with Johnson suggesting he should only post positive reviews about Black-owned restaurants, with Lee noting that his positive reviews often result in a multitude of customers waiting for hours to try the food he liked.

“Hypothetically, if I was to be inauthentic and you waited in a three-hour wait time and you got to the front and the food was trash, who are you gonna be mad at? The restaurant owner or me?” he said. “Or 600 people who waited in line, they gonna all make videos and say I’m a fraud, say I lied. And that four-hour line only gonna be there that one time because everybody gonna say the food is trash.”

He also pointed out some of the support he’s given restaurateurs, including helping to raise more than $40,000 for a restaurant owner who had cancer.

Johnson later appeared to walk back his criticism of Lee.

During an Instagram Live, a portion of which was shared on The Neighborhood Talk’s Instagram account, Johnson explained that “My daughter got me together.”

“My daughter text me like…‘Listen, we Team Keith Lee over here,’” he said.

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