How the Food World Reacted to the Mario Batali Allegations on Twitter
In a bombshell investigative report published Monday on Eater, four women accused celebrity chef Mario Batali of a pattern of sexual misconduct spanning at least two decades. The prominent restauranteur and co-host of ABC's The Chew, who did not deny the allegations in the report, said he has stepped aside from his high-profile positions in the food business. Reactions to the news were swift and damning.
Although new and similar sexual harassment allegations against powerful men seem to come to light on a daily basis in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein investigation, the Batali revelations are one of the most significant so far within the restaurant business. It's also prompted a flurry of emotional reactions online from fellow celebrity chefs, restaurant critics, and food world insiders at large.
Fellow celebrity chefs and industry insiders were quick to react
I remember being grossed out by that part of Heat. But I moved on, kept reading. It changed my image of Batali but didn’t change it enough to make me think of him as a guy who abuses women at work.— Pete Wells (@pete_wells) December 11, 2017
***UPDATE*** @davidchang made a statement. If he’s speaking up about a long time pal MAYBE THE REST OF YOU CAN FIND SOME COURAGE.— Jen Agg (@TheBlackHoof) December 11, 2017
This statement is literally the most basic thing, it supports victims, condemns Batali’s actions and calls for change. It’s SO EASY. Try it! pic.twitter.com/vS8w0fYTL1
Many are hoping it ushers in a new era, and holds others in positions of power accountable
This is another day when leaders in the restaurant biz have an opportunity to tell us what they believe in.— Pete Wells (@pete_wells) December 11, 2017
Pay close attention to which powerful food people say nothing in response to this.— Helen Rosner (@hels) December 11, 2017
This is a disappointing, disgusting & sad day for a lot of people, but what's worse is that it's been a disappointing, disgusting & sad work reality for women in the restaurant industry for a long time.— Kat Kinsman (@kittenwithawhip) December 11, 2017
Where’s Barbara Lynch’s “hot take”? Nancy Silverton? Anita Lo? Gale Gand? Susan Feniger, and all the others who I’ve admired that had it WAY harder than I ever did? Call them! They should have been your first calls!— Allison Robicelli (@robicellis) December 11, 2017
Some insist Batali's alleged behavior has long been an open secret
Mario Batali was already a scumbag when he withheld millions in wages from his staff, and the recent news only confirms that he's a awful person— Christo Aivalis (@christoaivalis) December 11, 2017
Years ago, I was at an event with Mario Batali and was told to steer clear of him because among other things he had punched a model in the face at a party— Tara Dowdell (@MsTaraDowdell) December 11, 2017
When reached by Thrillist on Monday, a spokesperson declined to comment on the allegations on behalf of Batali's fellow co-hosts on The Chew, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, and Daphne Oz. Instead, the spokesperson issued the following statement:
“We have asked Mario Batali to step away from The Chew while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention. ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment. While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct.”
In addition to stepping aside from his company, B&B Hospitality Group, and his role on the show, Batali provided a statement to Eater in which he said the accusations match his behavior:
“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt," he said, according to the report. "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."