Mario Batali Leaves Restaurant Empire Over a Year After Sexual Assault Allegations Surface
The chef was first accused of sexual misconduct in December 2017.
The chef’s longtime business partner Joe Bastianich and sister Tanya Bastianich Manuali informed Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group staffers in a letter that Batali’s involvement was done after 20 years, according to the New York Times.
“[Batali] will no longer profit from the restaurants in any way, shape or form,” Manuali reportedly wrote in the letter.
She will now run day-to-day operations of a new company that formed after the dissolution of Batali & Bastianich.
“I have reached an agreement with Joe and no longer have any stake in the restaurants we built together,” Batali tells PEOPLE in a statement. “I wish him the best of luck in the future.”
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Batali will also reportedly sell all of his shares in Eataly, an Italian marketplace chain featuring restaurants and retail items as well as cooking classes.
The restaurant group is famed for its roster of high-profile eateries across the globe, including Babbo and Del Posto in New York City.
But the empire took a hit in December 2017, when Batali was accused of sexual harassment and assault by multiple women.
Bastianich denied knowledge of Batali’s alleged behavior in a statement to the Times.
“While I never saw or heard of Mario groping an employee, I heard him say inappropriate things to our employees,” he said. “Though I criticized him for it from time to time, I should have done more. I neglected my responsibilities as I turned my attention away from the restaurants. People were hurt, and for this I am deeply sorry.”
Eater reported the famed chef groped four different women and engaged in inappropriate touching spanning two decades, and another accuser subsequently claimed on 60 Minutes that he drugged and assaulted her while she was unconscious in 2005.
“I woke up by myself on the floor, I don’t know where I am, of an empty room, wooden floor,” said the woman, who said that she was an employee at Babbo at the time. “I see broken bottles. The first thing I think is, ‘I’ve been drugged.’ That was the first thing I thought is, ‘I’ve been — I’ve been assaulted.’”
Batali denied the woman’s allegations in a statement, but admitted he had been “deeply inappropriate” in the past and apologized.
Following the initial round of accusations, Batali was fired from his cohosting gig on ABC’s The Chew.
The NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to file sexual assault charges against Batali after three investigations, citing a lack of evidence.