The chef and restauranteur allegedly groped all four women without their consent and repeatedly behaved inappropriately. Three of the women worked for Batali, and the other works as a chef.
Batali is taking a leave of absence from his position at Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, a management company that supports over 20 restaurants. ABC has asked Batali to step away from “The Chew,” the daytime show he co-hosts, according to Eater.
Batali told the publication in a statement that the allegations “match up” with his past behavior.
“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt,” he said. “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.”
The first woman, who worked as a waitress at Batali’s now-closed restaurant Pó for two years in the 1990s, told Eater that the chef repeatedly sexually and physically harassed her. The woman, who is not named in the Eater report, told the publication that Batali grabbed her “like a linebacker, like a disgusting bear hug” and often pressed his body against hers while she was working at the New York City restaurant.
In that moment I realized, ‘I’m just a body [to him].
a woman accusing Mario Batali of sexual misconduct
The second woman alleged that Batali inappropriately touched her twice when she worked for him in the late 1990s. She said the first incident was when Batali grabbed her butt without her consent. The second incident occurred while she and Batali were in a small space at a restaurant and he was sitting in front of the exit. The woman said she was forced to straddle the chef in order to leave the area and go to the bathroom.
The third woman worked for Batali in the late 2000s and alleges that the chef groped her breasts during a party in 2011. “In that moment I realized, ‘I’m just a body [to him],’” the woman told Eater.
The fourth woman accused Batali of groping her breasts at an industry party in New Orleans around 2007. The woman told Eater that when she accidentally spilled wine on her blouse, Batali began groping her chest and said “let me help you with that.”
“He gets wasted, he’s arrogant, and he acts like he’s God’s gift to women,” the fourth woman said of Batali. “This is still your industry, you’re a leader in this industry — if you behave this way, what kind of example are you setting?”
Head over to Eater to read the full report.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.