Celebrity chef Mario Batali says he is stepping away from his businesses’ daily operations after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct.
“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 the ways I have acted,” he said in a statement to Eater Monday.
“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 continued.
“I want any place I am associated with to feel comfortable and safe for the people who work or dine there.”
Eater on Monday reported that Batali was reprimanded for inappropriate behavior in the workplace as recently as two months ago.
Batali & Bastianich (B&B) Hospitality Group is a restaurant-management services company providing support to about 24 restaurants owned by Batali and others.
A B&B restaurant employee officially reported inappropriate behavior by Batali to the company in October.
The company on Monday told Eater that it was the first formal complaint about Batali, who was reprimanded and then required to undergo training.
At least four women allege that Batali touched them inappropriately in a pattern of behavior seemingly spanning two decades.
One former employee said he repeatedly grabbed her from behind and held her tightly against his body over two years.
Another woman alleged that Batali groped her, also claiming he compelled her to straddle him during a separate incident.
A third individual who worked for Batali accused the chef of grabbing her breasts at a party when they no longer worked together.
Eater’s fourth source said Batali began rubbing her breasts with his bare hands someone spilled wine on her chest.
“He just went to town, and I was so shocked,” she said of the experience roughly a decade ago.
“Jaw on the ground, I just stepped back from him in utter disgust and walked away,” the woman added of the incident in New Orleans.
Batali has co-hosted the ABC “The Chew” since 2011, and the network said on Monday it had also asked him to step away from the program.
“[It’s] while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention,” a spokesperson said.
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