Mario Batali Exits 'The Chew' Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations
On Monday morning, the news broke that four woman have come forward and said that Batali, 57, allegedly touched them in “inappropriate" ways and exhibited a "pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades."
Three of the woman have worked for Batali in some capacity. The claims against Batali include allegedly groping a woman's breasts, grabbing at another woman and holding her tightly, forcing another woman to straddle him, and generally giving off a "provocative, icky feeling."
Batali responded to the accusations in the Eater report. He said:
"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 have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed. 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.
"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."
The chef is stepping away the "day-to-day operations of his businesses" and taking a leave of absence from The Chew while ABC investigates the claims. An ABC spokesperson said to Eater:
"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."
Batali's food empire includes 24 restaurants which he co-owns and operates with Joe Bastianich through management service company, Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group. According to Eater, the first official complaint was made to the company in October 2017 and Batali was "reprimanded and required to undergo training."
B&B has since released their own statement:
"We take these allegations very seriously. We pride ourselves on being a workplace for our employees where they can grow and deliver great service with equal opportunity and free from any discrimination. We have strong policies and practices in place that address sexual harassment. We train employees in these policies and we enforce them, up to and including termination."