Chef Mario Batali is facing more sexual assault allegations, this time from a woman accusing the high-profile restaurant owner of drugging her before forcing himself on her while she was unconscious.
The woman, who requested to remain anonymous while detailing her horrific ordeal to CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday, is a former employee of Batali’s restaurant Babbo. She claims that the chef invited her to a party at a trendy eatery in the West Village known as The Spotted Pig when the incident took place. The woman remembers drinking wine with Batali at a table on the second floor of the restaurant before blacking out.
“It gets completely foggy for me. And this is — part of the messy, scary part for me, there is a part where it — it all disappears,” she told CBS.
She said she did remember sitting on Batali’s lap at one point where he initiated a kiss. Her next memory is of throwing up in a toilet before waking up on the third floor of the restaurant, surrounded by broken bottles with scratches on her body and semen on her skirt. The third floor of The Spotted Pig is infamous for being a kind of hunting ground for predators looking to sexually assault their victims. Batali, who has a stake in the eatery, and owner Kevin Friedman even coined the third level of the restaurant the “rape room,” a place where drugs were often used and questionable sexual acts were committed.
“I woke up by myself on the floor, I don’t know where I am, of an empty room, wooden floor. I see broken bottles. The first thing I think is, ‘ I’ve been drugged.’ That was the first thing I thought is, ‘I’ve been — I’ve been assaulted.'” the woman told host Anderson Cooper.
She recalls heading in for her shift at Babbo just hours after the incident took place and questioning Batali as to what happened. When he refused to speak to her she went called a crisis hotline and, when she got off work, went to the hospital to be examined. She also spoke to an NYPD detective but chose not to pursue charges against Batali for fear of retribution.
This isn’t the first time the celebrity chef has been accused of sexual assault. Batali stepped down from running his restaurant in December after multiple female employees came forward with allegations of harassment and misconduct. Though Batali issued an apology for years of inappropriate behavior, he’s denied all of these recent allegations in a statement his team sent to CBS.