Batali pays US$600,000 to settle sexual harassment investigation

Celebrity chef Mario Batali and restaurateur Joe Bastianich have agreed to pay US$600,000 to settle a four-year sexual harassment investigation by New York’s attorney general’s office.

Mario Batali

As reported by Law360.com, attorney general Letitia James found that the pair permitted a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation at their restaurants.

“Celebrity and fame does not absolve someone from following the law. Sexual harassment is unacceptable for anyone, anywhere – no matter how powerful the perpetrator,” James said in a statement.

“Batali and Bastianich permitted an intolerable work environment and allowed shameful behavior that is inappropriate in any setting,” she added.

In addition to the pay out, which will go to over 20 former employees at Babbo, Del Posto and Lupa, Batali and Bastianich have agreed to submit their New York eateries to state oversight for three years, including mandated employee training and required compliance reporting.

In 2017, Batali stepped down from his restaurant empire and was fired from ABC’s cooking-based talk show The Chew following allegations of a harassing work culture at his Babbo, Del Posto and Lupa restaurants brought to light in a New York Eater article.

Four women made allegations against the chef over incidents spanning two decades, with more later coming forward.

Joe Bastianich

At the time Batali admitted that the claims “match up” with his behaviour, despite not knowing his accusers, and released a statement in which he apologised to fans and “full responsibility” for his actions.

The statement read: “I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team. My behaviour was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and will work every day to regain your respect and trust.”

According to investigators, Batali subjected employees to unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate touching and sexually explicit comments, and failed to take action when employees raised concerns.

“When my female co-workers and I were being sexually harassed by multiple people at Del Posto, the restaurant’s leadership made us feel as if we were asking for it – as if it is a rite of passage to be harassed at work,” former Del Posto line cook Juliana Imperati told Law360.com.

In 2019 Joe Bastianich, his mother Lidia and sister Tanya severed ties with Batali, who sold all his shares in the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group.

As reported by Law360.com, in 2018, Batali and Bastianich agreed to pay US$2.2m to settle a class action suit accusing them of short-changing staff through unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime and unlawful tip credit deductions.

Leave your reply

Most Recent Stories

Drink-driving chef says he had to 'sample new wine list'

A chef caught driving home almost four times over the legal alcohol limit claimed he had been asked to “sample” new wines at work.

WLC Eats - St. Barts

Douglas Blyde finds an ecclesiastical setting, skilful wine list and excellent crunchy cod fritters at Restaurant St. Barts.

England in World Cup quarter final could mean £6m boost for pubs

England is through to the quarter final of the World Cup after a 3-0 win against Senegal, which could provide a lifeline income boost for pubs as punters head out to watch the game.

Birley Wine Club dinner raises £186,651 for ‘Food from the Heart’

Enticed by the promise of a dinner at Annabel’s Club matched with 100-point wines sourced by The Birley Wine Club, guests raised £186,651 for The Caring Family Foundation’s ‘Food from the Heart’ campaign – an increase of £84,651 compared to last year’s event.

Environmental activists target Salt Bae's London restaurant

The Knightsbridge outpost of Nusret Gökçe, known to the world as 'Salt Bae', was targeted by activists from campaign group Animal Rebellion who called for the restaurant famous for its gold-covered steaks to serve sustainably-sourced ingredients.

Most Recent Stories

Drink-driving chef says he had to 'sample new wine list'

A chef caught driving home almost four times over the legal alcohol limit claimed he had been asked to “sample” new wines at work.

WLC Eats - St. Barts

Douglas Blyde finds an ecclesiastical setting, skilful wine list and excellent crunchy cod fritters at Restaurant St. Barts.

England in World Cup quarter final could mean £6m boost for pubs

England is through to the quarter final of the World Cup after a 3-0 win against Senegal, which could provide a lifeline income boost for pubs as punters head out to watch the game.

Birley Wine Club dinner raises £186,651 for ‘Food from the Heart’

Enticed by the promise of a dinner at Annabel’s Club matched with 100-point wines sourced by The Birley Wine Club, guests raised £186,651 for The Caring Family Foundation’s ‘Food from the Heart’ campaign – an increase of £84,651 compared to last year’s event.

Environmental activists target Salt Bae's London restaurant

The Knightsbridge outpost of Nusret Gökçe, known to the world as 'Salt Bae', was targeted by activists from campaign group Animal Rebellion who called for the restaurant famous for its gold-covered steaks to serve sustainably-sourced ingredients.