Mario Batali, one of America's most prominent chefs and restaurateurs, is taking an indefinite leave of absence from both his restaurant empire, B&B Hospitality Group, and ABC's The Chew following allegations of habitual sexual misconduct. In a report by Eater on Monday, four women accuse Batali of inappropriately touching them on multiple ocassions and interviews with dozens of current and former employees suggest a pattern of sexual harassment that spans at least 20 years.
The women -- three of whom worked a Batali restaurant in some capacity -- allege that Batali groped their breasts or grabbed them from behind, among other allegations. A fourth woman, a chef who has never worked for Batali, accused him of "rubbing her breasts with his bare hands" after someone spilled wine all over her shirt at an after-party for a wine auction in New Orleans 10 years ago, according to the report. "He just went to town, and I was so shocked,” she said.