NYPD Closes Mario Batali Sexual Misconduct Investigations
On January 9, the New York Police Department closed its investigations into chef and restaurateur Mario Batali without filing charges, reported CNN.
A law enforcement official told CNN one of the cases the NYPD’s Special Victims Division was investigating was still within the statute of limitations, however “the NYPD was not able to develop probable cause in either of the two cases.”
The allegations first surfaced against Batali in December 2017. Four women made claims against Batali who allegedly "touched them inappropriately in a pattern of behavior that appears to span at least two decades,” reported Eater. The women accused the famed chef of inappropriately touching them during his time at the helm of his company, including groping their breasts and buttocks, among other claims.
Batali told Eater NY in a statement: “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."
The NYPD in May confirmed to 60 Minutes that it had an ongoing investigation against Batali. The CBS newsmagazine reported that a former Babbo employee alleged Batali assaulted her in 2015. The second ongoing investigation is into claims a woman was drugged and raped by Batali at Babbo in 2004.
Batali has yet to comment publicly in regards to the closure of the two investigations.
In the rise of the #MeToo movement, the acclaimed chef and TV personality stepped out of the spotlight after the allegations came to light.
During that time, Batali also stepped away from the day-to-day operations at Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, a group that operates about two-dozen restaurants and is owned by Batali, Joe Bastianich, and other partners. ABC announced Batali would no longer be a co-host on ABC’s daytime show “The Chew.”
Over the past year, Eataly pulled his cookbooks from shelves and three of his Las Vegas restaurants closed after partners cut ties with Batali. In May, Batali’s former hospitality group, B&B hospitality ended its partnership with him.
Batali’s behavior was a key figure in the December scandal that emerged from Spotted Pig and James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Ken Friedman. Trish Nelson, a longtime server, according to The New York Times, said employees referred to Batali as “the Red Menace,” and that he tried to touch her breasts and told her they were beautiful. There was also an upstairs lounge at the restaurant nicknamed the “rape room.”
“Though I don’t remember these specific accounts, there is no question I have behaved terribly,” Batali wrote in an email to The New York Times at the time. “There are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused.”