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'Make-A-Wish' Kid to Barefoot C: Don't Call Us ...

3/30/2011 2:35 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten just learned a hard lesson ... late is not always better than never ... because she just got blown off by the family of a "Make-a-Wish" boy.

Barefoot Contessa

You'll recall ... Enzo -- a 6-year-old with cancer -- wanted to cook a meal with Ina, but she couldn't find the time. 

After TMZ broke the story, Ina took lots of heat.  So Monday night she called Enzo's family and offered for them to come to the Food Network for a cookout.

Enzo's dad Adrian tells us ... the ship has sailed:  "I don't want to put my son through all these emotions.  We're better off just leaving everything the way it is."

As TMZ previously reported -- Enzo's new wish to swim with dolphins is already in the works, and Adrian tells us it will be fulfilled in August.


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What is wrong with you people who think it is okay for this useless celebrity to blow off a Childs wish....She is who she is because of people like ENZO and his family. What if it was your child? Would you still feel the same? Ina's show IS boring and her undying love for Jeffrey is sickening. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. She also stated that she opened her home to the EAST HAMPTON Historical Society because she feelS the society seperates East Hampton from the other towns around. REALLY!!! That just shows what a SNOB she really is!!! SORRY to BURST your bubble INA but YOU HAVE LOST THE RESPECT OF 1000'S AND WILL NEVER BE VIEWED THE SAME, WITH ANY LUCK AT ALL, YOUR SHOW WILL BE CANCELLED. YOU CAN'T FIX THIS ONE. GOD BLESS YOU ENZO AND YOUR FAMILY. SWIMMING WITH THE DOLPHINS WILL BE SO EXCITING FOR YOU.

1213 days ago


I am curious why people would defend this woman. All of the rationale the people use is interesting in and of itself. Why should she? So what? Dying (or in remission) kids should step up and face the music that they don't always get what they want. The kid's mother is pathetic. Ina doesn't owe this kid (or any dying or IR kid) a thing. It is a sad, sad thing that some people in our society have become so jaded and mean-spirited that they can't have compassion for a sick kid but instead are sympathetic to Ina Garten, who, unless you sympathizers are celebrities (and that could be true), certainly would not grant your dying wish - well, unless you were REALLY famous. I assume all you Ina-sympathizers out there know you WILL die someday and you might have a small wish of your own near the end that your family would try to get for you. If they loved you. And had a conscience. But I don't think you beasts can have raised families that feel like that about you, do you?

1213 days ago


Regarding CountryGal's post: "Enzo Momma Say Please Keep This Story Goin. She Need Mo Money. She Pimpin Out Enzo More And More" - I have read over this post several times, and several of your other posts as well, and I come away with the impression that you aren't very bright; certainly you do not have good verbal skills. I'll bet you are missing a teeth or two (hence "CountryGal" for a moniker) as well. The angle from which you view this story is also telling. No job, right? As my Gram used to say about ignorant losers, "I'll bet she was raised by wolves." Certainly no human being would take credit for giving birth to you.

1213 days ago


I can understand the chef is very busy, I'm sure she is, but the only reason she has time now for the poor child is because she got a bad rep. She should have thought of that before she turned him down for the second time.

1213 days ago


they should also boycott her and the food network for this.

1213 days ago


#2 poster: I am not a social worker nor a famous person. But if a child sick with cancer asked me to play ball with him at anytime of day or night I will drop everything to play ball with that child. That's called compassion. Ina has none period. She is all about Ina her show and the bottom line-money. I am done watching her show.

1213 days ago


I really liked her show, but how sad she didn’t take the time out to help a little guy who has suffered so much already. Yes I know that many wishes don’t get fulfilled BUT she should had made things right by being more human and less selfish. We only have one life to live… make it count for something, especially if you’ve already been blessed. Humm.,., what a difficult choice…. making a memory for an ill child who has suffered probably more than I have in my lifetime OR not wanting to be bothered so I can make more $.,.,. I guess whoever took the time out to help her out is shaking their heads at her now just like most of us are. Shame on her.

1213 days ago


INteresting how Ina is too busy over and over but as soon as she gets bad press, she suddenly finds time to call and arrange a meeting. Classy.

1213 days ago


People just want to HATE the rich and successful, NO MATTER WHAT! Are you all really saying that you would love to spend your final moments with a total stranger! What liars you are! You'd spend your final moments with close friends and family. And if you don't have that, you have to examine your life and ask why!

1213 days ago


ina and her hampton friends have plenty of money to hire SEVERAL people to post positive things about ina all over the internet. take some comments with a grain of sand.

1213 days ago


Big disappointment!
People are going crazy....Some of the responses, what is wrong with people? The child is SICK, and yes, we may not know him, but the mere fact that he is a sick child, should give you the compassion to CARE. if anyone remembers what the hell that is. #2,9,10,& 13 where the hell are your hearts??????

1213 days ago


The Barefoot Contessa and the Compassion Bullies: An Ethics Drama

Ina Garten is not a Monster?

A boy named Enzo Pereda, now 6, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2009. The Make-A-Wish Foundation asked him what his wish would be, and he said he wanted to meet the Food Network’s Ina Garten, the “Barefoot Contessa,” and watch her cook from his bed. Enzo’s wish was relayed to Garten through the Foundation, but she declined, saying that her schedule was too busy with a book tour. Enzo opted to wait. The request was made again this year, and Garten’s refusal was final and unconditional. Enzo’s mother, who has catalogued his illness in a blog called “Angels for Enzo,” was furious, writing:
“…it is has been officially confirmed that Ina Garten (the “Barefoot Contessa” ) has declined Enzo’s wish to meet her and cook a meal with her. I felt terrible for him, he has been unwavering in his desire to meet her for 3 years …Even yesterday when I told him the unfortunate news, his reply was simply “why doesn’t she want to meet me”? (As he is looking up at me with those big beautiful brown eyes)… I just tried to explain (even though her answer was simply “NO” and a blanket “NO” to granting ANY wish across the board…WOW)…I would be lying if I said that I don’t find this to be shocking. To know that out of EVERY THING (material Enzo could choose to have), or ANY PLACE (in the world Enzo could travel to) and out of EVERY PERSON on this earth he chose Ina, and she cannot see what an honor that is…The immediate reaction yesterday when word started to get out that Enzo’s wish got declined was like wild fire and so many people are upset and disgusted. I also know many boycotts have started and e-mails, letters, texts have been sent out. And I truly appreciate all the passion you feel and all the love and support you have shown Enzo.”

Not surprisingly, after that, “The Barefoot Contessa” is getting marinated in the media, barbecued in the blogosphere, and parboiled by the public. The episode is tricky from an ethical perspective, because it involves emotionally charged elements like the disappointment of a sick child and his loving family, which make it difficult to evaluate the situation objectively.

The single most unethical action in this unfortunate sequence is Mama Pareda’s passive-aggressive call for supporters of Enzo to wreak vengeance on Ina Garten. I can understand her anger and bitterness, and in her position, I would be angry too. But it was wrong, vindictive and unfair to call down the wrath of the media and blog-furies against her, which is exactly what her blog post did. (Now Pareda is trying to call off the pack, having figured out that the furor over Garten is making Enzo, who still admires her, feel worse, not better. Good luck putting the genie back in the bottle.)

Garten’s refusal was not wrong, and it was not justification for criticism. There are many legitimate reasons for her choosing not to give Enzo an audience, including just not wanting to do it. Do all of us have an obligation to do a favor for a stranger simply because they asked for it? No. Do we have an obligation to do the favor if the stranger is sick? Young? Old? Dying? No, no, no and no. Accept any other answer, and we are declaring that whenever the Make-a-Wish Foundation delivers a request, it is really a demand, backed by the threat of public humiliation….dictatorship of the desperate, attack of the compassion bullies.

Would I make Enzo’s wish come true, under almost any cir***stances? Yes. Ina Graten doesn’t have to. Would most celebrities? Yes…and Ina Garten still doesn’t have to. Being kind and generous is ethical, but saying no when there is no ethical duty to say yes is not unethical. If Enzo is making a request, then the request can be refused. If its isn’t really a request, but an order, Enzo has no right to issue it. There is a duty to rescue. There is a duty to confront and report wrongdoing. But a duty to comply with the random desires of sick children? Absolutely not.

What about celebrities, though? I frequently write about their duties to be ethical role models and to tolerate the inconveniences of their fame. Doesn’t that apply here? I don’t think so. A baseball star should sign autographs for kids within reason; a movie star should be gracious when someone approaches her in public. This is more; Enzo asked for a special event, just for him. I expect a celebrity to be polite to me if I say hello, but he doesn’t have to accept my invitation to dinner, even if I tell him my son is sick and that having him over would make his big brown eyes glisten with joy.

Then, after the celebrity has declined my invitation, I am wrong if I go out of my way to make the episode a public relations crisis for him, because he didn’t come through with an extraordinary act of graciousness and kindness.

The Ethics Verdict: There was unethical conduct here, and it was all Mrs. Pareda’s. Enzo has chosen another wish, and he seems to be happy about it. The only victim was “The Barefoot Contessa.”

UPDATE-3/29/11: “The Barefoot Contessa” caved in to the pressure and the cyber shaming campaign, and agreed to Enzo’s demands. Of course, it isn’t charity or generosity when the act is the result of threats and insults, so Garten won’t even get any credit for her capitulation, only a mass “and let that be a lesson to you!” Enzo probably doesn’t care, and the compassion bullies smugly win another round. I wish she had the courage to resist the easy way out, but I had little hope that she would, and can hardly blame her.

I did not write this I took this from an ethhic's website:

1213 days ago


I can understand if she couldn't do it, but she should have said so in the begining. The left it as that, is seems like she was on again and off again. That is what made it look so bad!
Yes the father did what was right for his son, he has enough going on with the cancer with out being up because she said yes and then her change her mind and him being down.
God Bless,
Will be praying for you Enzo

1213 days ago


You can not force someone to do something they are incapable of doing at that particular time. Mrs. Garten stated that she had prior comitments. May GOD bless little Enzo, I will pray for him and his family; however I feel that 1st this was not even an age appropriate wish. When you sit down and think about it, what does a 6 year old know about Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa? NOTHING..... MAW foundation did a very poor job, in my opinion, of screening the process of selectioning the wish. I am assuming this wish was for one of his parents, and that's really neither here or there at this point but, the fact of the matter is Enzo was better off choosing another wish that was more age appropriate for a six year old. {When my son was six the last thing on his mind was cooking (eating, but not cooking)}.

You can not force people to do chartible acts of kindness.......
I have read what so many have to say and what it boils down to is charity, you can not force someone to give to the charity that you feel they should give too. Then get upset because they did not do what you feel they should have done or what you would have done under the same cir***stances.

Under the cir***stances surrounding this event is I only hoped that Mrs. Garten would have stood fast and not given in to the pressure of the media and MAW and continue with her prior engagements. Because after shifting her entire schedule, it was all in vain. You can not please everyone, so you have to make decisions and be okay with the decisons you make and stand fast. You don't let people strong arm you into doing things that you really couldn't commit to in the first place.

Soory for typo and lots of emotions.


1213 days ago


I was a fan of the Barefoot Contesa I even had my dvr to taped all her shows but today after this i must look for some other show to watch

1213 days ago
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