Mario Batali appeared this morning in a Boston municipal court, where he pled not guilty to a charge of indecent assault and battery.
Photographs from the chef's court appearance revealed a dramatic change from Batali's recognizable look, demonstrating significant enough weight loss to alter his appearance noticeably. He wore his signature ponytail with a blazer, but not his signature Crocs.
Batali's charge follows a woman's allegations that he kissed and groped her after she asked to take a photo with him in a Boston restaurant in 2017. Batali's attorney denied the allegations in a statement to The Boston Globe — saying they are "without merit" — and said that Batali intends to fight the charge.
Batali's noticeable weight loss comes as he's fallen out of the public eye in the year and a half since sexual assault allegations against him first emerged.
Daily Mail has additional pictures that show both Batali's changed physique and his temperament in court.
According to a lengthy update on Batali reported by GrubStreet in December 2018, he'd been spending time in the summer house he’s had with his family since 2003 in Northport, Michigan. It’s located at a former trout-fishing camp where he set up an al fresco pizza oven imported from Italy, according to a GrubStreet easily located Batali there, and the chef was cordial but declined a formal interview.
He did however tell GrubStreet he didn’t want to be interviewed, saying, “I'm not going to live my life in public anymore." He further said at that time that he planned to be in Northport, “at least until the end of the year,” and he feels comfortable in the location.
“I’m a lucky man,” he told GrubStreet, despite acknowledging the obvious fact: “Well, it’s been a bad year.”
Allegations against Batali first emerged on December 11, 2017. The chef followed up with a botched apology letter, but the fallout began swiftly: All traces of Batali vanished from Eataly, he was fired from The Chew (which ABC eventually canceled), his restaurants closed, and other chefs stepped back from their associations with his name.
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