Mario Batali settles harassment investigation, pays accusers $ 600,000



Celebrity chef Mario Batali, his business partner and their New York catering company agreed to pay $ 600,000 to resolve a four-year investigation by the state attorney general’s office into allegations that Batali , restaurant managers and other workers allegedly sexually harassed employees.

The money will be divided between at least 20 former employees of B&B Hospitality and their Manhattan restaurants Babbo, Lupa and Del Posto, now closed, all held in joint ownership by Batali with Joseph Bastianich until March 2019, the prosecutor announced on Friday. General Letitia James.

The company must also review employee training materials and submit reports to the attorney general’s office for the next three years, documenting training and policies on harassment and discrimination.

In this May 2019 file photo, celebrity chef Mario Batali is indicted for indecent assault and battery in Boston City Court in Boston, in connection with a 2017 incident at a Boston restaurant.

In this May 2019 file photo, celebrity chef Mario Batali is indicted for indecent assault and battery in Boston City Court in Boston, in connection with a 2017 incident at a Boston restaurant.
(The Boston Globe / AP)

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Batali, whose high-flying career collapsed amid a myriad of allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, was charged in the New York investigation with pulling a waitress’s hand towards her crotch as she served him and showing a waiter an unwelcome pornographic video.

Chefs and managers of restaurants owned by Batali have been accused of degrading women with misogynistic comments and showing favoritism towards male employees.

In one case, according to James’ investigation, a restaurant manager told waitresses to wear makeup and have breast implants. The manager also called the employees “sensitive” and “little girl” in front of the guests, the investigation revealed.

Juliana Imperati, a former line cook at Del Posto, said in a statement that restaurant management gave employees the impression “it was a rite of passage to be harassed at work.”

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Messages requesting comment were left with lawyers for Batali and Bastianich. The two men’s signatures were on the settlement agreement, dated Thursday.

In a statement, James said Batali and Bastianich allow “shameful behavior” in the workplace.

“Fame and fame don’t excuse someone from obeying the law,” James said. “Sexual harassment is unacceptable to anyone, anywhere, no matter how powerful the abuser is.”

Batali, known for his orange fangs and ponytail, resigned from the day-to-day operations of his restaurant empire and quit the ABC cooking show “The Chew” in December 2017 after four women accused him of touching inappropriate.

Batali apologized this month, saying the allegations “match” the way he acted.

“I made a lot of mistakes and I’m so sorry I disappointed my friends, family, fans and my team,” Batali said in an email newsletter. “My behavior was bad and there is no excuse. I take full responsibility.”

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In 2018, New York City Police said they were investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against Batali after a woman told “60 minutes” he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2005 Batali denied assaulting the woman and no charges were filed.

In 2019, Batali was charged with indecent assault and bodily harm for allegedly kissing and forcibly groping a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017.


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