A celebrity chef with a TV show and a chain of restaurants is under fire after allegations surfaced from four women accusing him of sexual misconduct. The allegations against Mario Batali, co-host of ABC’s cooking-themed daytime show “The Chew,” span at least two decades.
The allegations were published today on the Eater website.
Batali is reportedly stepping away from the TV series and from day-to-day operations of his restaurant empire.
In a statement issued today, Batali did not deny the allegations, saying that “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.”
He added: “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.”
Batali also said in the statement: “We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior. I won’t make that mistake again.”
In the Eater report, four women accuse Batali of inappropriate touching.
“Three of the women worked for Batali in some capacity during their careers,” Eater reports. “One former employee alleges that over the course of two years, he repeatedly grabbed her from behind and held 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.”
The website did not publish the names of Batali’s accusers.
ABC’s “The Chew”: Mario Batali at far right