Mario Batali Steps Down From Restaurant Empire Amid Sexual Assault Allegations
American chef, writer and media personality, Mario Batali, has backed away from his restaurant duties after a number of women have come forward with claims that he made inappropriate moves on them.
Known for his appearances on Iron Chef America and ABC's The Chew, Mario is being accused by four women who said that while working for him he would grope, straddle and squeeze them against his body, New York Eater reports. One women details a time Mario grabbed her breasts after a drink spilt on her top. "He just went to town, and I was so shocked,” she says. “Jaw on the ground, I just stepped back from him in utter disgust and walked away.”
Mario released a statement to the publication admitting that the allegations against his name, from women working for his Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, hold some truth to them. The Chew also asked the chef to step away from his hosting duties as they “review the allegations that have just recently come to" their attention.
“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt," Mario stated. "Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behaviour described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behaviour 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."
Adding: “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. We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behaviour. I won’t make that mistake again. I want any place I am associated with to feel comfortable and safe for the people who work or dine there."