According to investigations carried out by the site Eater, several women have laid allegations of sexual misconduct against celebrity chef Mario Batali. The number of women that have come forward to claim that they were touched inappropriately by Mario are four and they say this occurred over twenty years.
The accusers insisted on remaining anonymous as they were terrified of reprisal however, their stories were corroborated by Eater with versions from family members, colleagues and friends that were informed about the incidents as well as from information made available to the public. Of the four women, two said he touched them at work, another said she was forced to bestride him to leave a confined space, while the 4th woman accused him of repeatedly grabbing her from behind. Two women said the incidents occurred at industry events; one alleged that he attacked her and gripped her breasts at a get-together, and another accused him of rubbing her breasts after wine was spilled on her shirt by someone else. Eater’s investigations further revealed that Batali has quite a reputation for making comments about and toward women that are sexually inappropriate.
When Eater contacted Batali for a comment, he admitted he crossed the lines, apologized to the people he abused and hurt and also promised never to make that mistake again. He said that even though the identities of most of the persons cited in these stories remain anonymous even to him, the described behaviour as a matter of fact, is consistent with the way he has always behaved. Batali admitted his wrong doings and said they were inexcusable. He took full responsibility for his actions and deeply apologized for any discomfort, embarrassment or pain he may have caused his family, friends, peers, customers and employees.
A representative of the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group communicated to Eater that they got their first formal complaint about Batali just this October, he was reprimanded and told to undergo training. The corporation, which has had training on sexual harassment for several years, has decided to engage an external investigations firm for personnel who wish to make complaints. According to a statement released by the company, Mr. Batali agreed to step aside from the operations of the company, as well as the restaurants, and in fact has done so already. However, Batali will continue to be the owner of his restaurants.
The Chew, a show which is co-hosted by Batali, and airs on ABC, has requested him to step aside pending the conclusion of their investigations into the allegations. The network released a statement saying they were not aware of any kind of inappropriate behaviour involving him and anybody associated with the show however, they will promptly deal with any alleged behaviour that violates their standards of conduct.
Some of his colleagues in the food industry have gone on twitter to weigh in on the issue:
It’s Batali. And it’s bad .
— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) December 11, 2017
And no one should be surprised https://t.co/DCLvDzNYwO
— Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) December 11, 2017