Celebrity chef-restaurateur Mario Batali has been asked to step away from his ABC daytime series “The Chew” and has stepped down from daily operations at his restaurant-management company following multiple allegations of sexual impropriety.
“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt,” Batali, 57, said in a statement Monday to Eater.com. “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 foodie website said four women, three of whom had worked for him, had accused Batali of inappropriate touching and sexual innuendo over the course of at least 20 years. The Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, his partnership with Joe Bastianich, had reprimanded Batali after a company employee in October formally reported inappropriate behavior by the chef. Batali also then underwent sensitivity training, the company told Eater in a statement.
The company said in a statement to Eater, “We take these allegations very seriously” and that, “Mr. Batali and we have agreed that he will step away from the company’s operations, including the restaurants, and has already done so.” Bastianich also said in a statement, “Right now, I’m just focused on ensuring that our more than 1,000 employees continue to have a safe and positive work environment.”
In a statement, ABC said Monday: “We have asked Mario Batali to step away from The Chew while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention. 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.” Batali had been a co-host since the series began in 2011.
Variety added that Food Network suspended plans to revive Batali’s signature series, “Molto Mario.”
“I know my actions have disappointed many people,” Batali’s statement to Eater continued. “The successes I have enjoyed are owned by everyone on my team. The failures are mine alone. 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.”