Mario Batali is stepping away from his operations role at Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group in the wake of an Eater report detailing the chef's alleged history of sexual misconduct. Batali will also step away from his co-hosting gig on ABC's The Chew, on the air since 2011.
In the report, four women—who are remaining anonymous "in part for fear of retaliation"—detailed multiple alleged instances of Batali groping them, making overtly sexual comments, and engaging in other inappropriate behavior both during and after work hours. The pattern of sexual misconduct is alleged to extend back "at least" two decades.
"I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt," Batali said in a statement to Eater Monday. "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." Batali added that he has "work to do" in terms of regaining trust and insisted the "failures are mine alone."
Of the women interviewed for the report, three worked for Batali. One woman, who worked for him in the late '90s, said that Batali asked if she was a lesbian when confronted about grabbing "half of my butt" and squeezing it. Years later, the woman alleged, Batali blocked her exit while the two were working in a small space and forced her to straddle him in order to leave for a restroom break.
"This wasn't just some dirty jokes, this was mean, this was about asserting power," a former server at Batali's since-closed Pó restaurant in West Village, said. "He is awful." Read the full report here.