As several women have come forward to accuse Mario Batali of sexual misconduct, celebrity chef David Chang said the restaurant community needs a “stronger moral compass” when it comes to confronting inappropriate behavior.
Chang said today’s report in Eater that seven more women have accused Batali of touching them inappropriately during incidents that took place between the mid-1990s and last October is weighing heavily on him.
“For those in the business, we need to be stronger in our moral compass,” Chang said in remarks today at the Code Conference at Rancho Palos Verdes. “When someone does something they may find questionable, immediately we need to talk with them about it.”
Chang, the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group who is perhaps best known as host of the Netflix show Ugly Delicious, said the entire restaurant community has been struggling with the proper response to these revelations of misconduct, which include grabbing, unwanted touching and abusive, sexualized language. Eater reported that the NYPD confirmed it is investigating Batali for two separate sexual assault accusations, both strikingly similar.
“It’s incredibly hard and I’m still wresting with it,” said Chang, calling on those who witness questionable conduct to speak out immediately.