Celebrity chef Mario Batali is taking time off from his businesses, as well as co-hosting The Chew, amid multiple sexual harassment allegations against him.
Four women have accused 57-year-old Batali of touching them inappropriatedly over a period that spans at least two decades, Eater New York reports. One woman alleges Batali groped her breasts at an after-party when she was in her 20s, and one woman alleges that he repeatably grabbed her from behind and held her tightly against his body. Three of the women allegedly worked for Batali at some point.
Batali apologized in a statement to Eater, and didn't deny the allegations.
“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt," the statement reads. "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."
“I have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed," the statement continues. "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 behavior. 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."
Batali said his actions "have disappointed many people."
"The successes I have enjoyed are owned by everyone on my team. The failures are mine alone," he concluded. "To the people who have been at my side during this time -- my family, my partners, my employees, my friends, my fans -- I am grateful for your support and hopeful that I can regain your respect and trust. I will spend the next period of time trying to do that.”
According to the report, in October 2017, a restaurant employee officially reported inappropriate behavior by Batali to Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, the first formal complaint against him.
Batali has co-hosted the daytime show The Chew since 2011.
“We have asked Mario Batali to step away from The Chew while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention," an ABC spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.
"ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment. While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct.”
In addition, the Food Network said on Monday that they were now putting plans to relaunch his show, Molto Mario, on hold.
“Food Network takes matters like this very seriously and we are putting relaunch plans for Molto Mario on hold," the network said in a statement to ET.
'The Chew' addressed Batali's departure on Tuesday's show.
Batali's famous friends most notably includes Gwyneth Paltrow. Last July, Paltrow hosted the goop x Cadillac Road to Table dinner at Batali's Manhattan eatery, La Sirena, where she revealed the chef's thoughts on her famous exes.
"He was just teasing me about every boyfriend I brought to [Batali’s restaurant] Babbo over the years," she quipped. "He liked Brad Pitt, if you want to know. Didn’t like Ben Affleck that much."
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