Mario Batali Has Been Accused Of Sexual Harassment

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In the midst of so many powerful men being accused of sexual assault, allegations against a celebrity chef have now come to light. On Monday, Mario Batali has left The Chew after sexual harassment accusations have been made against him, and it seems he’s also stepping down from his restaurant company for the time being, as well.

These reports came out in the early hours of Monday morning via an exposé published in Eater New Yorkwhere four unnamed women came forward to share their stories about the inappropriate behavior the chef displayed toward them that took place over the last 20 years. One woman, a fellow chef, accused him of groping her when he met her at a party, then offering her a job with him for double her salary at the time. The other three women all worked for him at some point in time, and have accused him of inappropriate touching, sexual jokes, and innuendo in the workplace, with chef Lee McGrath chiming in that when he replaced Mario at restaurant Pó, he was told not to mess with the waitresses because they’d already “been through hell with Mario.”

“He gets wasted, he’s arrogant, and he acts like he’s God’s gift to women,” one of the women told Eater. “This is still your industry, you’re a leader in this industry — if you behave this way, what kind of example are you setting?”

According to a statement from Mario, the chef admitted to the behavior detailed in the Eater article, and took the opportunity to issue an apology. He 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.”

He continued to say that now, his goal is to ensure that people feel comfortable visiting his restaurants and working with him again, and added that he will work to regain their trust. However, some of the women who spoke out to Eater did say that they chose to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from Mario.

It’s unclear whether or not Mario plans to return to the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, but it seems his departure from The Chew will be a permanent one. “While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct,” ABC said in a statement, according to Newsday.

It’s hard to continue hearing new reports of sexual misconduct, but it’s good to see that these accusations, much like the others made against other celebrities in recent weeks, are being taken seriously.