For the past several weeks, celebrity chef Mario Batali has been under investigation by the New York Police Department for alleged sexual assault. Two women say Batali drugged and raped them; two claims the famous cook denies. As new details of the allegations continue to emerge, more women are now coming forward with sexual misconduct complaints against Batali.
Per an Eater report, 28-year-old Natali Tene, once a devoted fan of the chef, says Batali touched her inappropriately at a Boston bar named Town Stove and Spirits in April 2017. While taking a selfie with the chef, Tene says the seemingly drunk Batali grabbed her backside and breasts then put his hands between her legs. Batali also pulled her face into his, forcing a kiss. Witnesses to the incident described Batali as being “handsy.”
“I was just in total disbelief when he touched me like that; I couldn’t believe it when it was happening. In the moment it was just so crazy, it was humiliating. The more I thought about it later, the angrier I got.”
As news of other women throwing similar accusations at Batali emerged in recent weeks, Tene realized she was not alone and decided it was time to tell her story. He is finally “being exposed as a creep,” Tene told Eater.
In 2016, Sarah Watson encountered Batali in New Orleans. She says the once-celebrated chef licked her face and couldn’t keep his hands to himself.
Pastry chef and cookbook author Jenny McCoy said she met Batali in New Orleans in 2007. When some wine was spilled on her shirt, the cook began voraciously rubbing her chest.
According to Eater, the number of women claiming Batali groped or otherwise touched them inappropriately stands at 18. While Batali does deny any allegations of rape, he does admit his behavior is somewhat similar to the women’s descriptions.
These alleged incidents, unlike the sexual assault accusations under investigation by the NYPD, have not led to any additional criminal charges. However, Eater describes them as a “broader picture” of Batali’s questionable behavior stretching as far back as the 1990s.
With all the sexual misconduct allegations against Mario Batali, B&B Hospitality Group, a restaurant company he helped establish, is in the process of disassociating from him. As Inquisitr reported earlier this week, Batali’s three restaurants in Las Vegas will also be closing in the coming months.