Iconic NYC Restaurant The Spotted Pig Closes After Sexual Harassment Scandal
Manhattan gastropub The Spotted Pig has closed following claims of sexual harassment among employees that were settled earlier this month.
Sunday was the last day of operation for the eatery, according to The New York Times, marking an end of an era for the once iconic staple of New York City’s West Village.
The closure comes just weeks after owner Ken Friedman agreed to pay $240,000 and profit shares to 11 employees who accused him of sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination, the New York State Attorney General’s office announced on Jan. 7.
Friedman, in a statement to the Times, said that 78 employees would go jobless because of the closing and that he attempted to generate capital to keep the establishment afloat.
“For over two years I have done everything possible to keep the Spotted Pig open,” he said in the statement. “I’ve been working to try to raise funds or sell my shares, in order to save the business, to continue to support our great employees — many of whom have been with us for over a decade — so they could keep their jobs and health benefits.”
According to the Times, Friedman will still have to pay the settlement despite closing the restaurant, per the agreement.
After announcing the settlement earlier this month, the state’s attorney general office said that since it opened in 2004, The Spotted Pig had fostered a work environment where employees and customers could make sexually explicit comments and gestures toward the female staff members.
“No matter how high-profile the establishment or how seemingly powerful the owners, today’s settlement reiterates the fact that we will not tolerate sexual harassment of any form in the workplace,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Among the claims outlined in the initial report, employees said they faced unwanted sexual advances and were propositioned for sexual photos, according to Eater, and some staffers even referred to a private area in the restaurant as the “rape room.”
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The Spotted Pig has earned several Michelin stars, a James Beard Foundation award and is known as a celebrity hot spot run by chef April Bloomfield.
“Every individual deserves to go to work free of fear, abuse, intimidation and retaliation,” James added. “I thank the women of The Spotted Pig for their bravery, their voices, and their unwavering commitment to ensuring a safe, harassment-free workplace.”
Investigators determined that the restaurant did not address or take action to improve the situation for the women.
Continuing his statement to the Times, Friedman said The Spotted Pig was “running in the red for a long time,” prompting the decision to close.
“I love the Spotted Pig and all the staff who helped make it such an iconic place,” he said in the statement. “I’m sorry I did not create a sustainable work environment. Its closing is the saddest thing I’ve had to face in my professional life. I want to thank our loyal employees and devoted patrons, who have been like family.”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.