Yet another high profile man has been accused of sexual harrassment. Four women have accused Mario Batali of sexual misconduct, Eater reports. The women say the chef and restauranteur "touched them inappropriately." According to the publication's head-turning article, Batali is "going to step away" from his restaurant businesses in light of the allegations.
In a statement to Eater, the popular chef, who is also known for his role as co-host of ABC's The Chew, said:
"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."
An ABC spokesperson told Eater that the network has asked Batali to "[step away] while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention."
Unfortunately, he's not the first food industry pro to be accused of sexual misconduct as of late (Todd English of Plaza Hotel food hall notoriety harassed a server, a lawsuit filed in August claims) — and he likely isn't the last.
Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio recently penned an open letter entitled "An Open Letter to (Male) Chefs" about the recent wave of sexual harassment claims, calling for a change. "We shouldn't hide from it," he later told The Feast in an interview.
Similarly, Anthony Bourdain has been vocal on Twitter since his girlfriend, Asia Argento, was named one of Harvey Weinstein's victims in The New Yorker's bombshell exposé outing the director's years of abuse toward Hollywood newcomers. Following the publication of Eater's piece on Batali, Bourdain Tweeted just five words:
"It's Batali. And it's bad."
Colicchio retweeted Bourdain, adding, "And no one should be surprised."
This whole situation is what the Italians might refer to as non bene.
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