Mario Batali Steps Down— Another Sexual Harassment Case Shakes Up Restaurant Industry

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  • Celebrity Chef Mario Batali does not deny sexual misconduct, according to "Eater."

  • Batali has been sexually harassing women for the past two decades according to investigation by "Eater."

Due to sexual harassment allegations, celebrity chef Mario Batali steps away from his restaurant empire.

Four women, who wish to remain anonymous because they fear retaliation, shared their story with “Eater” detailing how they were inappropriately touched by Batali.

One instance involved a chef who was meeting Batali for the first time at an event. She claims he offered her a job on the spot claiming he would pay her double of what she was making when all of a sudden someone bumped her glass and spilled wine all over her chest. “She alleges that Batali began rubbing her breasts with his bare hands while saying something like, ‘Let me help you with that,’ as he groped her chest. ‘He just went to town, and I was so shocked… I just stepped back from him in utter disgust and walked away,” the chef told “Eater.”

The allegations were confirmed by Batalli this week when he sent a statement to “Eater” apologizing and announcing he will be stepping down from his leadership roles at his businesses.

“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,” Batalli told “Eater.” “...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.”

The sexual harassment claims from the rest of the women confirm that Batali has been acting this way for the past two decades. Many are afraid of speaking out. One woman, a former employee of Batali, told "Eater," “He has clear intent on being threatening when he is wronged. And the level of vindictiveness is very chilling. So, it never occurred to me to share tales out of school.”

While these allegations are reviewed, a spokesperson from ABC said that the network also asked the celebrity chef to step away from the show The Chew, which he has co-hosted for about 6 years.

The news come after Chef John Besh stepped down as CEO of his namesake restaurant group and Foodable dropped Chef Todd English from Top 100 Social Chefs Guide due to sexual harassment allegations.

Read more about the “Eater” investigation, here.