Many acknowledge today is a dark day for the restaurant industry. Now we need industry leaders to continue to come forward to address and remedy these types of unhealthy and illegal workplace behaviors.
— Kristen Hawley
Writing for Eater this morning, Irene Plagianos and Kitty Greenwald revealed multiple sexual misconduct claims against chef, restaurateur, and television personality, Mario Batali.
In a statement provided to Eater, Batali says he will be stepping away from all of his businesses for an indefinite period of time. In a prepared statement sent to The Associated Press Batali said the complaints match up with his past behavior. The Food Network announced it would not be relaunching the Molto Mario television show of which it has already filmed at least six episodes.
ABC Television has also asked Batali to step away from his role on talk show The Chew while it investigates allegations. Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, Batali’s restaurant company (along with partners Joe and Lidia Bastianich) told Eater that it’s bringing on an independent, outside investigations firm to aid any employees who may come forward in the future. On Monday morning, B&B Hospitality’s website went dark, and was still down when this newsletter was sent.
Anthony Bourdain tweeted late Sunday night that “Monday is really gonna suck,” as journalist Yashar Ali tweeted that news of a major chef’s sexual misconduct would likely break on Monday, starting an industry-wide guessing game as to the subject of the news. Upon Eater’s publication of the piece, many in the industry reacted sharply, including chef Tom Colicchio, adding a sharp, “And no one should be surprised,” on top of the news. (In early November, Colicchio posted an open letter to the industry in which he admitted, among other things, “my kitchen is hardly perfect.”)
And no one should be surprised https://t.co/DCLvDzNYwO
— Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) December 11, 2017
Batali is the most high-profile chef to be exposed for egregious behavior in an out of the kitchen. In October John Besh stepped away from his own restaurant group after a story documented a workplace rife with harassment. Other chefs, including Todd English and Johnny Iuzzini have recently been accused of or sued for harassment as well. They most certainly will not be the last.
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After 32 years on the restaurant scene, you couldn’t blame Rick Bayless for kicking back. Instead, he’s rolling up his sleeves, minding each of his businesses — from airport locations to Chicago flagships — with care.