World-famous chef Mario Batali is reportedly under criminal inquiry for sexual misconduct
Sexual harassment scandals hit the refined world of gourmet cuisine
Mario Batali is an American chef, a published writer, a successful restaurateur, and media personality. According to nine women who have laid charges against him for sexual harassment and misconduct, he is also a sexual predator, reported CBS News.
Batali co-owns restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston, Singapore, Westport, Connecticut and New Haven, Connecticut, but he has now stepped down from his position in Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group.
In the aftermath of the revelations, he was fired from ABC's The Chew and the Food Network has suspended the episodes in which he participated.
His proclivities may have come as a surprise to his business partners or the networks, but not to those who worked with him, or served him in restaurants he visited assiduously like The Spotted Pig, in New York City, wher he is accused of having commited at least one rape.
" I deeply regret not doing more to protect my staff, who relied on me."
Chef April Bloomfield, CBS News, 20th of May 2018
The Spotted Pig is co-owned by a friend of Batali's named Ken Friedman and by Chef April Bloomfield. The restaurant's staff spoke to Anderson Cooper openly and frankly about what they had witnessed and experienced with regards to the Chef.
Trish Nelson, a waitress at The Spotted Pig, who frequently served Mario Batali spoke of him as 'a monster' who had often tried to touch her in an inappropriate manner.
Natalie Saibel, a waitress, revealed that Batali made passes at the female wait staff and make inappropriate comments. Jamie Seet, a manager at The Spotted Pig confessed that Batali had grabbed at her breasts more than once.
When the female staff members complained to one of the restaurant's co-owners Ken Friedman, the response was 'oh, don't worry about it, it's just Mario.'
Friedman is seen by staff as enabling Batali's abuse and perpetuating a climate of emotional abuse and intimidation, and in fact, putting up with incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault was required for women working at The Spotted Pig.
The bartender at The Spotted Pig Erin Fein, said that she had been sexually assaulted by Friedman himself in his car outside the restaurant in 2014. He would later send her texts demanding 'sexy pics'
Fein wasn't the only woman who received demands for sexy pictures from Friedman. Carla Rza Betts, an executive in charge of selecting wines for the restaurant chain, was harassed in 2010 and received the same request.
The employees felt that approaching April Bloomfield, Friedman's partner would be useless, and some believed that she was well aware of his behavior. Other staff members feel that Bloomfield was in the dark, and had no knowledge of the incidents at The Spotted Pig - neither Friedman's harassment nor Batali's rapes of the women.
Friedman and chef Bloomfield own seven restaurants together and though she denied a request for an interview, she stated that she was in the final stages of ending her partnership with Friedman. She expressed regret at not having protected her staff from Friedman's harassment.
Both Ken Friedman and Mario Batali were approached by CBS for comments and offered an opportunity to tell 'their' side of the story, and both men declined to cooperate or comment.