Haute cuisine impresario Mario Batali says he’s stepping aside from the day-to-day operations of his more than two dozen restaurants, which include three on the Las Vegas Strip, after admitting that sexual misconduct allegations made against the celebrity chef are true.
ABC has also placed the famed chef on hiatus from its hit daytime cooking talk show The Chew, which Batali co-hosts. On Monday, Eater.com, a website devoted to culinary happenings, broke the news that Batali had allegedly repeatedly engaged in sexual misconduct with female staffers.
The bombshell report shared the accounts by four women that spanned 20 years. Three of the women said the chef had groped them on at least one occasion, and another said Batali ordered her to straddle him.
In response, Batali told Eater in a statement, “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.”
Batali is married and has two children.
No More Mario
“Want More Mario?” was the perhaps unfortunate pop-up that still appeared on MarioBatali.com as of this morning. The message is to solicit sign ups for the chef’s digital newsletter.
Las Vegas visitors have in the past wanted more Mario, as the restaurateur’s portfolio on the Strip has expanded to three eateries.
Along with his business partner Joe Bastianich, Batali co-owns The Palazzo’s Carnevino, a high-end Italian steakhouse. The Palazzo’s sister property, The Venetian, is also home to Batali’s Italian B&B Ristorante, and OTTO, a pizzeria located “outdoors” in the resort’s faux piazza.
Weiner, Weinstein, and Weenies
The days of public shock in response to a scandal like the one generated by former US Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York) sexting a 15-year-old with his baby nearby are long gone. That’s primarily due to disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, whose decades of attacks on women came to light earlier this year.
Weinstein’s fall from grace led to numerous alleged victims of the producer finally coming forward with their stories of sexual misconduct. In the past few months, more gropers and worse have emerged, with most admitting to at least some degree of mea culpa towards their accusers.
High-Profile Offenders of 2017:
Al Franken: Last week, the Minnesota senator announced his future resignation in response to former Poker After Dark and National Heads-Up Poker Championship host Leann Tweeden revealing that he had sexually harassed her during a USO tour to entertain the troops in Afghanistan in 2006.
Roy Moore: Franken cited what he saw as irony in resigning, while Republican Senate candidate Moore continues campaigning for the Alabama seat. Moore has been accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with women and girls as young as 14, though he has denied any wrongdoing.
Kevin Spacey: The now-out gay actor allegedly assaulted over a dozen men during his career, including actor Anthony Rapp, who was only 14 at the time. Spacey’s apology was heavily panned for focusing more on his own sexual orientation than his victims’ plights.
Louis CK: The comedian apparently learned from Spacey’s dismal PR response, and instead took responsibility for his admitted sexual misconduct.
Matt Lauer: Perhaps the most shocking revelation of them all, Lauer admitted that some of the allegations made against him by former Today Show workers are indeed true. As many as eight accusers have said the morning news host made sexually suggestive comments and initiated “inappropriate contact.”
President Donald Trump: And then there is the 45th US president, who admits to using vulgar language in the past when talking about women with other men, but denies he’s ever committed any physical wrongdoing. Numerous women claim otherwise, however.