Mario Batali accused of sexual misconduct by 4 women

By @chelean on
Celebrity chef Mario Batali poses in his latest restaurant, Del Posto, in New York April 11, 2006.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali poses in his latest restaurant, Del Posto, in New York April 11, 2006. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is the latest high-profile personality accused of sexual misconduct. The American restaurateur has stepped down as co-host of the US cooking-themed show “The Chew” following allegations from four women.

According to a story on the Eater, four women, who have insisted on remaining anonymous in fear of retaliation from the famous chef, opened up about being subjected to sexual misconduct by Batali in a span of more than 20 years. One woman was in her 20s when she introduced herself to him. Moments into their conversation, she said Batali offered her double the amount she had been receiving as a chef to work for him. She described him as “creepy” who gave her “provocative, icky feeling.”

When someone bumped her wine glass and spilt the content on her chest, Batali allegedly began rubbing her chest with his bare hands, groping her. Shocked, she stepped back from him in disgust and walked away.

The three other accusers had worked for him in some capacity during their careers. One of them said he repeatedly grabbed her from behind and held her tightly against him. Another one said he groped her and forced her to straddle him in a separate incident. The third one was also a former employee who claimed he grabbed her breasts at a party. She no longer worked for him at the time.

Batali, who co-hosted “The Chew” since 2011, said he was stepping away from the day-to-day operations of his businesses following the allegations. He did not deny what the women claimed about him, saying the allegations “match up” with ways he has behaved.

“I apologise to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behaviour described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted,” he told the Eater in a statement. “That behaviour was wrong and there was no excuses [sic]. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”

Batali further said he would work to regain the trust of those he had hurt. He would be stepping away from the operations of his businesses. He remains the owner of his restaurants.

The ABC, which airs “The Chew,” has also asked him to step away while it is reviewing the allegations. The network claimed it has only learnt of the claims against him.

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