Mario Batali steps down over claims of sexual misconduct

Mario Batali has stepped down from his restaurant empire and been fired from ABC’s cooking-based talk show The Chew amid allegation of sexual misconduct, with the celebrity chef admitting that the claims made do “match up” with his behaviour.

Chef Mario Batali

It follows a report published by New York’s Eater on Monday, which published allegations made against the chef by four women over incidents spanning at least two decades.

In one incident, a female chef in her 20s recalled meeting Batali at a restaurant in New Orleans, describing the famed chef as “creepy”. After a waiter split wine over her chest, she claims Batali began groping her chest. Another former employee claims Batali would repeatedly grab her from behind and held her tightly against his body, while another alleged that he groped her and that, in a separate incident, he made her straddle him.

In a statement sent to the Associated Press, Batali apologised and said that the accusations “match up” with his behaviour.

“Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behaviour described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted,” he said.

“That behaviour was wrong and there are no excuses. “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.”

In light of the allegations, Batali has stepped down from daily operations at his restaurant empire, while ABC has put the chef on indefinite leave from position as co-host of its talk show The Chew. 

An ABC spokesperson said: “Upon completing its review into the allegations made against Mario Batali, ABC has terminated its relationship with him and he will no longer appear on “The Chew.” While we remain unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with our show, ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment and his past behavior violates our standards of conduct.”

Batali co-owns restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston, Singapore, Westport, Connecticut and New Haven, Connecticut under Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, which he founded in 1998 with restaurateurs Joe Bastianich and Lidia Bastianich.

Its restaurants include the flagship Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in Greenwich Village, as well as Lupa, Esca, Casa Mono, Tarry Lodge, and Del Posto – the only four star Italian restaurant in New York.

Batali is also co-owns Eataly in New York, the Eataly Italian market concept founded by Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti in 2007, which has since grown from a converted Vermouth factory in Turin to include venues in New York, Chicago, Milan Copenhagan and Dubai, to name a few.

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