Three Mario Batali Las Vegas Restaurants Get the Hook, Celebrity Chef Under NYPD Alleged Sexual Misconduct Investigation

Posted on: May 28, 2018, 09:40h. 

Last updated on: September 13, 2018, 09:50h.

Mario Batali — who in December of last year stepped down from daily management of his Las Vegas eateries, as well as of the rest of his 24-restaurant empire — will now see all three of his Sin City establishments shut down permanently at the end of July.

Mario Batali Las Vegas restaurants
A woman says after drinking a glass of wine with Mario Batali in 2004, she passed out, and alleges the famed chef took advantage of her sexually. (Image: Getty)

The move comes in the wake of a scathing 60 Minutes report that alleged everything from drugging to assaulting women at the Spotted Pig restaurant in New York — where Batali was an investor — in 2004 and 2005.

He has denied the accusations, but they follow on the heels of allegations of groping female employees in the past, which Batali has more or less owned up to.

Las Vegas Sands is closing the three restaurants Mario Batali founded through his B&B Hospitality Group. Restaurateur Joe Bastianich — who in 1998 first partnered with Batali — said in a statement to employees that the company’s Venetian and Palazzo eateries, which include Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante, and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, will all be closing on July 27.

“These restaurants have continued to succeed, and they are a tribute to every one of you who works in them and brings great dining experiences to our guests,” Bastianich said. “Unfortunately, our partner in these restaurants, Las Vegas Sands Corp, has decided to end our relationship.”

LVS executives have neither confirmed nor denied the reasoning behind the restaurants’ closing, only that it is a reality.

In that 60 Minutes report, which aired May 20, a woman alleges she met Batali in 2005 for a glass of wine at his Spotted Pig restaurant in New York City. She claims to have little recollection of what happened after, only that she remembered sitting on his lap, kissing him, and later vomiting in a toilet.

The unnamed woman said she believes Batali drugged her. The same 60 Minutes report produced a claim from another woman who said she saw Batali try to take advantage of a semi-conscious woman.

The famed chef stepped aside from day-to-day operations of B&B Hospitality in December after he admitted stories that he groped female staffers “match up with ways I have acted.” However, he denies the factuality of the 60 Minutes exposé.  

Bad Line Chef

Batali is just one of the high-profile men joining the growing line whose once-stellar reputations have been shattered in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which began when sexual misconduct claims from more than 80 women against former Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein were made public last fall.

Weinstein turned himself into New York City police on Friday, after being charged with rape in the first and third degree, and criminal sex act in the first degree.

He was freed on $1 million bail and has been fitted with a GPS tracking device. The charges against Weinstein stem from alleged incidences in 2013 and 2014 brought by two women. He has surrendered his passport and is not allowed to leave the New York State/Connecticut environs.

Who’s Next?

The #MeToo movement has also led to numerous women coming forward with allegations that casino billionaire Steve Wynn repeatedly demanded sexual acts from his female employees. The most serious claims involve what could have constituted rape charges when they allegedly occurred.

Wynn denies he acted inappropriately.

Before Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) signed a law in 2015 extending the timeframe that rape and sexual misconduct claims can be brought against a defendant, the state statute gave victims just four years to bring charges or file a police report.

Revised versions of the Nevada statute now state that as long as the victim filed a report within four years of the alleged sexual crime, authorities can potentially reopen the case, investigate it, and file charges with no time limit, should the charges be found to have merit.

That means that Steve Wynn could potentially face charges for some of his alleged sexual crimes.

In New York State — where the investigation into Batali’s alleged sexual misdeeds continues — there is no statute of limitations for rape charges in the first degree, which refers to perpetrators who rape by “forcible compulsion,” or engage in sexual intercourse with another person “who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless.”