Looks like making Crocs happen isn’t the worst thing celebrity chef Mario Batali is guilty of. Eater is reporting that the rotund redhead with rosacea has been behaving badly for decades and will be stepping down from his duties at his many restaurants as well as from Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, the restaurant management services company he co-founded with Joe and Lidia Bastianich. He’s also been asked to step away from his co-hosting duties on ABC’s The Chew. Are you ready to lose your appetite? Here are some of the details.
One woman, a chef, Eater talked to said she was at a wine auction about ten years ago and was chatting with Mario. He offered her a job on the spot. She says he seemed drunk and that she was getting some serious creeper vibes off of him. Then somebody bumped her and she spilled wine down the front of her shirt so Mario enthusiastically jumped in to help her. According to Eater:
She alleges that Batali began rubbing her breasts with his bare hands while saying something like, “Let me help you with that,” as he groped her chest. “He just went to town, and I was so shocked,” the chef says. “Jaw on the ground, I just stepped back from him in utter disgust and walked away.”
He also probably said “those are some-a spicy meat-a balls!” because Mario is as cheesy as he is sleazy. Eater spoke to three other women who had similar stories about Mario and his happy hands. Among other unsavory things, Mario is accused of giving forceful “bear-hugs” from behind, butt squeezing, breast grabbing, bra strap snapping and forcing one woman to straddle him. They say that Mario consistently made remarks about women’s bodies, frequently spoke in sexual innuendos and was often drunk and creepy.
I think we’ve all watched enough food related reality shows to surmise that professional kitchens are probably a cesspool of problematic behavior but given Mario’s stature and fame, you’d think he’d be more careful. But, he was reprimanded for inappropriate behavior at work as recently as two months ago. Apparently, waitresses were a frequent target of his attention.
According to Eater, Mario’s reputation for being a jovial guy was tempered by his tendency to be mean and vindictive. He’s helped boost the careers of many of his female employees but then again he also, allegedly, grabbed a lot of asses. Some colleagues said he’s very professional at work but turns into another type of man after hours and when he’s had a lot to drink.
Mario released a statement acknowledging his behavior. In part it reads (via Eater):
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.
Well, at least it’s an actual apology. That’s something I guess. Now, everybody go throw your fucking Crocs out!