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UPDATE: Keith Lee-Approved Food Truck Apologizes Over $4,000 Tip Dispute

 

The owner of Sweetly Seasoned allegedly kept the donation, despite instructions to divide the money.




Sweetly Seasoned posted an apology on Facebook Saturday morning.

"We thought and believed we were right but unfortunately we were wrong!" the post read. "This has been a huge miscommunication on our part and all funds are being released!"

 

The apology comes after Lee himself posted a TikTok Friday evening addressing the Sweetly Seasoned controversy. In the TikTok, the food critic insisted that he specifically told Sweetly Seasoned owner and chef Kim Viverette to dole out $1,000 each to barber Bradley Hodge and the hair braider located by the food truck.

"For [Viverette] to go in the back end and disregard where my heart was at, and what I felt like God was telling me to do in that moment, and distribute the money how she felt necessary is 100 percent wrong, in my opinion," said Lee. 

 

--- End of Update ---

 

After some very middling food reviews, food influencer Keith Lee’s Dallas tour saw another roadblock. Earlier this week, the TikTok star posted a review of Sweetly Seasoned, a Dallas food truck. Just a day after the review was published, Sweetly Seasoned owner and chef Kim Viverette is now facing a wave of backlash over a $4,000 tip.

 

Viverette’s son, Deon Spelling, posted a video on TikTok to get Lee’s attention. In the video, he asked Lee to visit the food truck because while his mother was an award-winning pastry chef, the truck was having issues with marketing.

 

When Lee finally visited, he praised the Sweetly Seasoned team’s work ethic. Pointing to the area, Lee noted the truck was full of hustlers working from a north Dallas parking lot.

 

“We are in the hood,” Lee said. “They’re outside cutting hair, doing braids, waiting on us.” 

 

After speaking with the owner, Lee generously gave a $4,000 tip. While tipping, Lee gave Viverette explicit directions to give $1,000 to the barber and $1,000 to the braider,

which would be used to cover a couple of free haircuts. The remaining $2,000, Lee said, was to go directly to Viverette and Sweetly Seasoned.

Just a day later, Sherell S. Hodge, who helped advertise Sweetly Seasoned to Lee, openly accused Viverette of keeping the entire $4,000 for herself.

In her TikTok video, Hodge mentioned her brother, Bradley Hodge, was the barber in Lee’s video and had not received the $1,000 tip reserved for him. Bradley reiterated Sherell’s claims on Instagram, asking Lee to contact him again.

According to Sherell, Sweetly Seasoned’s owner explained to the Hodges that the entire tip belonged to her alone. Viverette told Sherell that she did not ask either of the Hodges for their help or services; as a result, the chef felt entitled to the whole tip. 

Since the original videos were published, the Hodges have continued to post on social media asking for Bradley’s share of the money.

 

“Sweetly Seasoned, you owe him,” Sharell wrote on X.

 

In response to the Hodges’ claims, Spelling took to social media to defend the business and his mother. In a TikTok video, Spelling accused Sherell of “clout chasing”, alleging that she only wanted to film Lee for her own social media recognition. As of writing, Sweetly Seasoned has deleted their Instagram account, though Spelling’s personal account remains active.

 

In just hours, both the Hodges and Spelling’s exchange went viral, with online fans condemning the food truck and vowing to not visit.

“That Sweetly Seasoned lady just embarrassed Dallas and herself,” one person commented.

 

 

The ongoing online backlash marks the first tip-stealing allegation to hit a Keith Lee-approved restaurant. The TikToker frequently leaves 4-digit donations for struggling businesses–an action he calls a “blessing." In addition to tips, Lee also ends his reviews with prayers, hoping that the featured eateries reach their intended audience. Known for the so-called “Keith Lee effect," the social media star has revived struggling local businesses with his reviews.

 

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