UPDATE with statement from B&B Hospitality Group: In the wake of yesterday’s 60 Minutes report on Mario Batali’s criminal investigation of sexual assault, B&B Hospitality Group (B&B HG) has officially cut ties with the disgraced chef.
Batali worked with the group on many of his projects including the popular foodie destination Eataly. In a statement obtained by Deadline, B&B HG called the sexual assault allegations “chilling and deeply disturbing” and said that they are working to “separate Mr. Batali from the business.”
Read the entire statement below.
These allegations are chilling and deeply disturbing. This was the first we learned of them. Our partnership with Mr. Batali is ending. We have been actively negotiating with Mr. Batali to buy his interests in the restaurants, and he and Joe Bastianich have signed a letter of intent that sets forth the broad terms to do so. We expect to have the final terms set by July 1, and that Nancy Silverton, Lidia Bastianich, Mr. Bastianich, and other current investors will participate in the acquisition.
We have worked for years with Mr. Batali to bring true, innovative Italian cuisine to our guests. He has been our partner and close friend, but the actions he has acknowledged required us to separate wholly so that we reinforce our core values for our employees and our guests.
We had taken a number of steps in the last six months to separate Mr. Batali from the business, including immediately removing him from any operations this past December and asking Ms. Silverton and Ms. Bastianich to take on business-wide leadership roles and responsibilities.
We remain focused on two priorities: ensuring that our employees work with equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination; and continuing to give our guests amazing dining experiences.
PREVIOUS: At the end of last year, chef and TV personality Mario Batali stepped out of the spotlight and from his businesses after nine women came forward with sexual misconduct accusations against him. Now, the disgraced chef is under criminal investigation by the New York Police Department.
In a 60 Minutes report on Sunday, Anderson Cooper talked with some of the accusers and people who worked with Batali at the famed Spotted Pig, a restaurant which he invested in. In the report that aired Sunday, the women shared graphic details of sexual abuse where Batali made passes to many of the women on the waitstaff. Many also accused him of emotional abuse. They referred to him as the “red menace” and a “monster.”
Jamie Seet, a manager at the Spotted Pig, said that in 2008 she saw Batali sexually touching a woman who seemed to be unconscious on the restaurant’s security camera. She, along with other employees, stopped him.
One woman, who chose to remain anonymous during the interview, accused Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2005. In a statement provided to CBS News, Batali said of the accusations, “I vehemently deny the allegation that I sexually assaulted this woman. My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions. I am not attempting a professional comeback. My only focus is finding a personal path forward — a path where I can continue in my charitable endeavors — helping the underprivileged and those in need.”
In December 2017, Batali stepped down from both his company — B&B Hospitality Group — and the ABC daytime talk show The Chew after the food blog Eater New York posted a lengthy exposé in which four women accused him of sexual harassment.