Celebrity chef Mario Batali appeared in court on Friday, and his appearance shocked some fans. This was not because of his dramatic weight loss, but rather his footwear. Gone were his signature bright orange rubber clogs. Instead, he wore sneakers by rapper Kanye West.
Page Six says that Batali showed up early Friday morning dressed conservatively in a sport coat and button-down collared shirt to plead not guilty to charges that he “forcibly groped and kissed a woman” at a restaurant in 2017.
But photographers and the crowd gathered outside the Boston courthouse noticed that the chef was not wearing his signature neon orange Crocs (he reportedly owns 200 pairs) but instead, he sported the “Yeezy 350 V2 in a steeple gray/beluga/solar red colorway,” which sell for $220.
Batali was released on his own recognizance, meaning no bail, and will be allowed to skip the next hearing in Massachusetts on June 12.
The New York Times says that Batali arrived Friday morning at Boston Municipal Court through a back entrance looking much trimmer than he has previously. He met his lawyer in a conference room in the courthouse before the two headed into the courtroom to appear before the judge presiding over the assault case.
Mario Batali Charged with Assault and Battery for Alleged Groping in Boston https://t.co/cSDP8TEqsg
— TMZ (@TMZ) May 24, 2019
Batali remained silent, only quietly answering “yes” when the judge asked if he understood that he was not required to appear in person for the next hearing in June.
The celebrity chef’s lawyer released an official statement to The New York Times.
“The charges, brought by the same individual without any new basis, are without merit. He intends to fight the allegations vigorously and we expect the outcome to fully vindicate Mr. Batali.”
The alleged victim says that she was eating at the bar of a Boston restaurant when she spotted Batali, and he offered to take a selfie with her. The woman says she was previously a fan of the chef best known for his Italian recipes, but that changed when he touched and kissed her without her consent, groping her in the process, says The Inquisitr.
Lawyers for the complainant said that she made it clear that she had no sexual interest in Batali.
“Without asking her permission or giving her any warning, and without having received any indication that she had any sexual interest in him whatsoever, which she did not, Batali sexually assaulted her.”
Other women, including some employees, have complained that Batali also sexually harassed and groped them, but this is the first time that the chef has been criminally charged.