US chef Mario Batali cuts ties with restaurants after abuse accusation
NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Celebrity chef Mario Batali on Wednesday (March 6) said he had cut ties with his US restaurants after being accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.
Batali has sold his shares in the 16-restaurant operation, including Babbo and Del Posto in New York, to former partners Tanya Bastianich Manuali and her brother, Joe Bastianich, he said.
“I have reached an agreement with Joe and no longer have any stake in the restaurants we built together. I wish him the best of luck in the future,” Batali said in a statement from his representative, Risa Heller.
He is also selling his stake in the Eataly market and restaurant complexe, according to a report in the New York Times, citing Eataly spokesman Chris Giglio.
Representatives for Eataly did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The New York Police Department last year opened a criminal investigation into an accusation that Batali drugged and sexually assaulted an employee in 2005, following a CBS 60 Minutes report on the allegations that aired in May 2018.
Batali at the time denied the report, and the NYPD closed its investigation in January without charges, according to local news media.
Batali’s charisma and culinary flair turned him into a restaurant executive, television star, author and one of the world’s most recognizable chefs. He premiered on Food Network in 1997 on the show Molto Mario and in 2011 helped launch The Chew on ABC.
He is among dozens of high-profile men who have been fired or resigned from their jobs in politics, entertainment and business after facing allegations of sexually harassing or assaulting women and men.
Before the 60 Minutes report, online food trade publication Eater New York reported that four women, who were not identified, said the chef had touched them inappropriately in a pattern of behaviour that spanned at least two decades. Three worked for the chef.
Following those allegations, ABC Television Network fired Batali in December from The Chew. The Food Network also cancelled plans to relaunch Molto Mario.
In a previous statement, Batali admitted to those allegations, stating that the claims “match up with ways I have acted.” He apologised and had stepped away from the restaurant company B&B Hospitality Group, which the Bastianich family owns.
Representatives of the Bastianich family did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
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