Famed Television Chef Mario Batali Steps Down Amid Sexual Allegations

Posted by Jeanne on December 11, 2017

Add one more name to the list of men accused of being inappropriate with women. Mario Batali is the latest to face allegations and, already, he has stepped away from his food empire as well as his hosting gig on The Chew.

Mario Batali

Astrid Stawiarz / Contributor

Eater published a story Monday detailing the accounts of four women who claim that the 57-year-old celebrity chef is guilty of “inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades.”

A chef and former fan says that she met Batali about 10 years ago and, after she accidentally spilled wine down her shirt, he said, “let me help you with that” and then proceeded to go “to town,” leaving her “so shocked.” She added: “jaw on the ground, I just stepped back from him in utter disgust and walked away.”

The other three women worked for Batali and shared stories of the chef groping them and grabbing one from behind. The accusers say that they remained silent since Batali is known for being vengeful. As one women described, “he has clear intent on being threatening when he is wronged. And the level of vindictiveness is very chilling. So, it never occurred to me to share tales out of school.”

These allegations come just two months after an employee reported Batali for inappropriate behavior. A spokesperson for Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group told Eater that Batali underwent training since it was the first time he’d been faced with this type of complaint.

In a statement to PEOPLE, the hospitality group said: “We have had systematic policies and training about sexual harassment for over 10 years, including a detailed procedure for employees to report complaints to senior management. All members of management have participated in these trainings, including Mr. Batali.”

Meanwhile, an ABC spokesperson said: “We have asked Mario Batali to step away from The Chew while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention. ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment. While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct.”

For his part, Batali released a statement of his own: “I apologize 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 behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. 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. I know my actions have disappointed many people. The successes I have enjoyed are owned by everyone on my team. The failures are mine alone. To the people who have been at my side during this time — my family, my partners, my employees, my friends, my fans — I am grateful for your support and hopeful that I can regain your respect and trust. I will spend the next period of time trying to do that.”

Wow. At least he owned up to it. It will be interesting to see whether his career recovers.

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