A sex harassment expose by Eater accuses celebrity chef Mario Batali of inappropriately touching four women and engaging in a pattern of sex harassment that has spanned the last twenty years. According to Eater, one woman accused Batali of repeatedly forcibly pulling her towards his body from behind. Another woman accused him of groping her and compelling her to straddle him by blocking her exit. Two of the women allege Batali grabbed or rubbed their breasts during a party.
Following the allegations of sexual misconduct, Batali has announced that he would step away from his company and ABC asked him to take a break from his position as host of The Chew. Batali has not denied the allegations and has offered a public apology saying “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.”
While sex harassment by household Hollywood names has dominated the media, far too little attention has been focused on the endemic sex harassment which exists in the restaurant industry. The Economist recently reported that while just 7% of working American women are employed in restaurants, a third of all those who bring sex-harassment cases to the EEOC are restaurant workers.