In December of 2017, celebrity chef, restaurateur, and television personality Mario Batali was accused of sexual misconduct by four women — three former employees and one female who works in the restaurant industry — in an article published by Eater. Additional women soon came forward, accusing him of inappropriate behavior such as touching, groping, making unwanted sexual propositions, and being constantly subjected to his sexual innuendos. Batali was said to have been reprimanded more than once for these actions, many of which occurred when he was allegedly drunk, but they reportedly continued.
Eventually, the New York Police Department began investigating two of the cases. TMZ reported that one of the women, who was from Texas, alleged that Batali raped her at his New York City restaurant Babbo in January of 2004 after she went upstairs to use the bathroom. The other woman accused him of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2005 at NYC’s Spotted Pig restaurant where she worked and Batali was an investor.
However, on Tuesday, January 8, the NYPD revealed that it has closed both of the investigations and will not charge Batali with any kind of criminal misconduct because the accusers were unable to provide enough evidence to back up their complaints and detectives were not able to find credible witnesses to support their accusations, according to ABC News.
Following the initial sexual misconduct allegations in the Eater piece, Batali was fired from his co-hosting duties on the ABC daytime talk show The Chew, and the Food Network scrapped plans to revive his popular program Molto Mario, which had aired on the channel from 1996 to 2004.
Additionally, he was forced to remove himself from the daily operations of the more than two dozen restaurants he owned. He later agreed to let his partners buy him out.
Batali released a statement at the time in which he admitted to making “many mistakes.”
“I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans, and my team. My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility… I will work every day to regain your respect and trust.”
This past December, a writer for New York Magazine’s Grub Street tracked 58-year-old Batali down in Northport, Michigan, where he has been quietly living for the past year. He would not grant a full interview, but did state that he is “not going to live [his] life in public anymore.”
“It’s been a bad year,” he added.