Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colicchio Unsurprised by Mario Batali Sexual Misconduct Accusations
Celebrity chef Mario Batali has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, according to an investigation by Eater. Four women say Batali touched them inappropriately in instances that took place over two decades.
The women accusing Batali remained anonymous because they were afraid of retaliation, but Eater corroborated their stories with accounts from friends, colleagues, or family members who were told about the incidents, and from publicly available information. Two women said he groped them at work, with one saying he forced her to straddle him to leave a confined space, and another saying he would repeatedly grab her from behind. Two others say the incidents happened at industry events; one woman said he lunged at her and grabbed her breasts at a party, and a fourth said he rubbed her breasts after someone spilled wine on her shirt. Eater, which conducted dozens of interviews for the story, also reported Batali was known for making sexually inappropriate comments about and toward women.
Batali issued a statement to Eater, and he did not deny behaving inappropriately, saying he went "too far" and "won't make that mistake again." "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," he said. "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."
A spokesperson for Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group told Eater that this October, they received their first formal complaint about Batali, and he was reprimanded and told to go through training. The company, which has had sexual harassment training for many years, will now hire an outside investigations firm for employees who want to make complaints. "Mr. Batali and we have agreed that he will step away from the company's operations, including the restaurants, and has already done so," the company said in a statement. Batali will remain the owner of his restaurants.
The ABC show The Chew, where Batali is a cohost, has asked him to step aside while they review the allegations. "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," the network said in a statement.
His colleagues in the food world have weighed in on social media:
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.