In an explosive report that painted Mario Batali’s sexual misconduct and harassment allegations in graphic new specificity, CBS News reported that the famed and once-beloved Italian chef is now under criminal investigation by the New York Police Department.
The news magazine 60 Minutes on Sunday aired an investigation that accused Batali of inappropriately touching female servers at the Manhattan restaurant The Spotted Pig (where Batali was an investor). In two instances, CBS News alleged, it occurred while the women were unconscious. 60 Minutes spoke with one woman who said she woke up on the third floor of The Spotted Pig after a party. From the 60 Minutes transcript:
Woman: I woke up by myself on the floor, I don’t know where I am, of an empty room, wooden floor. 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.”
Woman: My right leg was very deeply wounded, like, scratched, like, deep scratches.
Woman: I didn’t think I had been raped. I didn’t feel any kind of trauma...
Anderson Cooper: Internally, you didn’t feel—
Woman: I didn’t feel any trauma internally. But I also did find—I looked on my skirt—There were two areas. It looked like DNA.
Anderson Cooper: Semen.
In response, Batali told CBS News: “I vehemently deny the allegation that I sexually assaulted this woman.”
In the second instance, a manager witnessed on security footage Batali running his hands up the leg of a woman who appeared to have been unconscious. The manager decided then to walk into the room to “snap him out of this.”
Batali, once the figurehead of a restaurant, television, and cookbook empire, was accused in a Washington Post investigation last December of repeated abuse. After the story came out, ABC dropped him as one of the hosts on the daytime food gabfest The Chew, and Batali’s restaurant group dropped the Mario Batali name.
On Sunday night following the airing of the 60 Minutes report, the restaurant group Batali co-founded with Joe Bastianich, B&B Hospitality Group, said it was severing all ties with Batali.
The 60 Minutes report also focused on The Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman, a man whom one woman interviewed accused of sexually assaulting her in a car outside the restaurant. The woman provided e-mails to CBS News written by Friedman, who hours after the alleged assault asked for “sexy” photos.
Accusations against Friedman were first reported last December by The New York Times’s Julia Moskin and Kim Severson, whose reporting contributed to the Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of sexual misconduct in the entertainment, media, and food industries.
The Takeout has kept track, unfortunately, of the long list of accusations against chefs and food personalities.