Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Bans Joey Chestnut for Endorsing Veggie Hot Dogs

Competitive food eater Joe Chestnut, winner of 16 of the last 17 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4, has been kicked out of the contest because he endorsed Impossible Foods weiners. Impossible Foods only makes “plant-based meat alternatives.”

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Major League Eating, which oversees the contest, claims that organizers are preventing Chestnut from competing for endorsing a competing food company.

“We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut has chosen to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs rather than competing in the 2024 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest,” Major League Eating said in a statement.

MLE emphasized that Chestnut is not “banned” from the competition. He just can’t compete as long as he’s endorsing a rival brand. The league said they would “welcome Chestnut — “an American hero” — back with open arms if he returned to their side in the dog fight,” according to a posting on X.

Chestnut was obviously disappointed.

“I was gutted to learn from the media that after 19 years I’m banned from the Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest,” he wrote. “I love competing in that event, I love celebrating America with my fans all over this great country on the 4th and I have been training to defend my title.”

“To set the record straight, I do not have a contract with MLE or Nathan’s and they are looking to change the rules from past years as it relates to other partners I can work with,” his statement continued. “This is apparently the basis on which I’m being banned.”

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New York Daily News:

Though Chestnut is easily the face of the Fourth of July competition — he has won 16 of the past 17 events — Major League Eating has seen beef like this before.

Japanese star Takeru Kobayashi, who won six consecutive competitions between 2001 and 2006, was kicked out in 2010 for refusing to sign the required exclusive endorsement deal.

Kobayashi attended the event as a spectator in 2010, and was dramatically arrested after jumping onstage following Chestnut’s win. All charges against Kobayashi were dropped, but he never returned to the contest, clearing the way for Chestnut’s reign of dominance.

Chestnut’s fans were none too pleased.

It’s ironic that Chestnut famously took down an animal rights protester who crashed the stage in the 2022 July 4 event. 

New York Post:

The Nathan’s contest at the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues, one block from the famous Boardwalk, has been a Coney Island tradition since 1916.

California-born Chestnut has won it 16 times, including every year since 2016.

He gobbled a world record 76 dogs and buns in 2021 and kept his title with a paltry 62 down the hatch last year.

A rep for Major League Eating (MLE), which Nathan’s sanctions to run the event, said the organizers bent over backwards to meet Chestnut’s various other demands.

They even agreed to let him participate in a rival Labor Day dog-eating fest to be taped for TV as long as no hot dog brand was mentioned.

But they said they drew the line on letting Chestnut pitch for a different hot dog brand.

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Impossible hot dogs are not hot dogs. Not American hot dogs anyway. I’m glad they punished Chestnut for attempting to despoil this treasured piece of July 4 Americana.

But I never fail to miss a bunch of idiots giving overeating a bad name. 

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