Anthony Bourdain is taking the news about Mario Batali very hard, but it’s pretty clear he saw it coming. On the heels of Eater NY’s bombshell that Batali has been accused of “inappropriate touching” by multiple women over the past two decades, Bourdain admits he had some firsthand knowledge of the situation.
According to Eater’s investigation, the married celebrity chef and co-host of The Chew allegedly sexually harassed four women, at least three of them his former employees. One of the accusers called Batali “creepy,” saying he gave her a “provocative, icky feeling.” Mario Batali has been accused of groping a woman’s breasts and forcing a female employee to straddle him. Batali has taken a leave from his restaurant empire, and ABC has asked the TV chef to step away from The Chew while the network reviews the allegations. Mario Batali could return to the daytime chatfest in the future, but it is unlikely, as he has admitted that he is guilty of at least some of the inappropriate behaviors described by his anonymous accusers.
Ahead of the expose, Mario Batali’s longtime colleague, Anthony Bourdain, hinted that he knew something bad was about to go down. Over the weekend, Bourdain, who was reeling over his friend Josh Homme’s altercation with a female photographer at an L.A. concert, dropped hints that Monday was not going to be any better. Bourdain tweeted to his followers that Monday was going to “suck.”
Once the Eater article was released, Anthony Bourdain tweeted to his 6.74 million followers, “It’s Batali. And it’s bad.”
But Bourdain’s commentary didn’t stop there. According to a report by AOL.com, Bourdain responded to a female chef who called the news “the most wonderful day of the year for those who have been hurt by Batali.” Anthony responded with this doozy.
“I wish that were true but in this case, I can assure you, from women talking to me with firsthand stories, it’s not wonderful at all. I’ve been sitting on stories that were not mine to tell. And feeling sick and guilty as f**k I hadn’t heard them before.”
Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali have been colleagues and friends for years, but it’s unclear if they ever discussed Batali’s alleged inappropriate actions or how far the secret stories Anthony knew about go back.
In a 2009 interview with the Seattle Times, Anthony Bourdain tipped his hat to the rival chef, offering praise for his prowess in the kitchen and as a businessman.
“He’s so much smarter and funnier and faster than me,” the Kitchen Confidential author said of Mario Batali. “He’s a better chef, he’s a better businessman…. He’s an important guy based on what he’s done for food alone. You know me because of an obnoxious book I wrote.”
For now, the businesses will be placed on the backburner and The Chew will be down one chef as Mario Batali faces his biggest controversy yet.