Celebrity chef Mario Batali is out of the frying pan and into the fire after recent reports.
The famed chef and co-host ABC’s “The Chew,” who had also appeared on “Iron Chef,” is the latest person to have sexual harassment allegations lodged against him, and the claims have already resulted in major consequences. According to Eater New York, four women have accused the Food Network star of misconduct spanning “at least two decades,” and he has stepped down from the day-to-day operations of his restaurant empire, though he remains an owner of his eateries.
According to one chef, 10 years ago, Batali “rubbed her breasts with his bare hands” after spilling wine on her chest. Another accuser alleged that he had her straddle him, while a third former employee claimed the chef inappropriately grabbed her from behind and held her against his body, reports Eater.
Back in October, a formal complaint of misconduct was issued against the restaurateur, and he was order to undergo harassment training.
In addition to leaving his restaurants, ABC also reportedly asked Batali to stay away from “The Chew” while they “review the allegations that have just recently come to [their] attention.” The chef had been a host on the cooking talk show since 2011. Similarly, the ink had barely dried on Batali’s contract to relaunch his signature Food Network show “Molto Mario,” which is now on hold pending an investigation, reports Variety.
Fellow celebrity chef and friend Anthony Bourdain alluded to the scandal in a series of tweets posted Sunday evening.
“No. Trust me. Monday is really gonna suck,” he wrote. “It’s where you stand when the people you care about and admire do awful things that matters. Keeping head down and hoping it goes away? No.”
On Monday morning, Bourdain confirmed the scandal involving Batali, simply tweeting, “It’s Batali. And it’s bad.”
Batali didn’t deny the allegations against, but he put out a lengthy statement to Eater, apologizing for the people he had “mistreated and hurt.”
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.