Monday, December 11, 2017

Mario Batali Is The Latest Celebrity Chef Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Eater New York released a story today where four women came forward to accuse Mario Batali of inappropriate touching over a period that spans at least 20 years.  Eater New York did dozens of interviews to validate these stories which include an employee accusing Mario Batali of repeatedly grabbing her from behind and holding her tightly against his body. "Another former employee alleges that he groped her and that, in a separate incident, he compelled her to straddle him; another alleges that he grabbed her breasts at a party, though she no longer worked for him at the time."

After details of these accusations came out, Mario Batali stepped down from his restaurant empire and ABC's The Chew has asked Mario to step away from the show while they "review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention."

Mario is quoted in the Eater article stating, "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."

After these stories surfaced, other chefs began to weigh in on Twitter such as Anthony Bourdain and Tom Colicchio.  Tom Collicchio said that "no one should be surprised."  He later explained Mario Batali's behavior was well documented in Bill Buford's book Heat.

Earlier this month it was announced that Mario Batali would be returning to Food Network with new episodes of his hit show Molto Mario.  Six episodes were already filmed and they were scheduled to be on Food Network in early 2018.  Food Network hasn't commented on these allegations yet, so we will have to see if the new episodes of Molto Mario are ever shown.

UPDATE - Variety is reporting that Molto Mario's return is on hold and has a statement from Food Network that says, "Food Network takes matters like this very seriously and we are putting relaunch plans for Molto Mario on hold."

UPDATE - ABC has officially fired Mario Batali from The Chew.

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