Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Steps Away From Restaurant Empire Over Groping Allegations

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Four women in the restaurant industry have accused celebrity chef Mario Batali of sexual misconduct over a period spanning at least two decades, according to a story published Monday by Eater which also detailed a pattern of inappropriate behavior throughout Batali’s career.

One of the women, a chef, said she was excited to meet Batali at a wine industry event about a decade ago. When someone bumped her, making her spill a glass of wine down her shirt, she said that Batali started groping her, saying something like, “Let me help you with that.”

“He just went to town, and I was so shocked,” she said. “Jaw on the ground, I just stepped back from him in utter disgust and walked away.”

Although the woman never worked for Batali, three other accusers who spoke to Eater were employees in various capacities. One of them said Batali spent two years repeatedly grabbing her from behind and holding her tightly against his body; another said he groped her and, in another incident, compelled her to straddle him; and a third said he grabbed her breasts at a party.

Batali, who became a star on the hit Food Network show Molto Mario, didn’t deny the allegations and confirmed in a statement to the site that he is stepping away from his businesses for an unspecified amount of time.

He said, in part:

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.


Read the full story here.


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