A celebrity chef dogged by allegations of sexual assault has forced ABC to take serious action on another one of its cooking shows.
A day after the network announced it would stop airing The Great American Baking Show because of harassment claims involving judge Johnny Iuzzini, EW has learned that chef Mario Batali has been fired from the daytime talk show The Chew. The decision comes after four women accused Batali of inappropriate behavior over a long period of time.
“Upon completing its review into the allegations made against Mario Batali, ABC has terminated its relationship with him and he will no longer appear on The Chew,” said an ABC spokesperson. “While we remain unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with our show, ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment and his past behavior violates our standards of conduct.”
“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. 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,” he said, in part, in a statement to Eater. “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.”
Meanwhile, the third season of The Great American Baking Show won’t air because of allegations levied against Iuzzini. In a statement to Mic, which first reported the claims against him, Iuzzini said, “I am shattered and heartbroken at the thought that any of my actions left members of my team feeling hurt or degraded. More importantly, I am deeply sorry to those who felt hurt. I certainly deny the allegations,” he said, adding, “Nonetheless, I must take responsibility if any of the members of my team felt uncomfortable by my words or actions, regardless of my intent or recollection. I must hear that what the women making the accusations are telling me and recognize I caused pain. I have strived to be a good mentor over the course of my career, and I now understand that I failed some people. To me, that is unacceptable.”
More have spoken out since the original story, claims which Iuzzini told Mic are “simply untrue,” and that “there is a difference between accepting responsibility for my immaturity and allowing false claims and accusations to be reported.”
The show had just returned to ABC’s schedule a week ago; the network will announce this season’s winner at a later date.