Mario Batali Steps Down from Restaurant Empire Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations
On Monday, Eater reported on four women who accused The Chew co-host of inappropriate touching, behavior that seems to have spanned over two decades. According to Eater, three of the women worked for Batali in some capacity, and one former employee alleged that, over the course of two years, he would repeatedly grab her from behind and hold her "tightly against his body." Another employee said Batali groped her chest.
Batali, who did not deny the allegations presented by Eater, told the website in a statement, "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."
The chef, who told the website he is removing himself from the day-to-day operations of his businesses, will also be stepping away fromThe Chew as ABC reviews the allegations, a spokesperson for the network told Eater.
"I have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed," Batali continued. "For this reason, I am going to step away from day-to-day operations of my businesses. We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior. I won’t make that mistake again. I want any place I am associated with to feel comfortable and safe for the people who work or dine there."
In a statement to Eater, Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group (the restaurant-management services company for Batali and Joe Bastianich's restaurants) said that, in addition to their current sexual harassment training and policies, they are now enlisting "an independent, outside corporate investigations firm" for other staffers who want to make their own claims.
Food and Wine has reached out to Mario Batali's team for further comment.