Breaking News Emails
More than a year and a half after multiple women accused celebrity chef Mario Batali of sexual misconduct, he has been bought out of Eataly, the Italian gourmet marketplace and eatery chain that was the pride of his restaurant empire.
Eataly USA announced Monday that Eataly Srl, its parent company based in Italy, purchased Batali's minority interest in Eataly USA, "formally ending the relationship with Mr. Batali," Eataly USA spokesman Chris Giglio said.
Four women said Batali had groped them and made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature, according to a report published by food culture website Eater New York in December 2017. More alleged victims followed with similar accusations.
Giglio said Batali has had "no direct involvement with Eataly" since the initial accusers came forward in 2017. The six Eataly locations across major U.S. cities were closely associated with Batali's celebrity. The chain has more than 30 locations in more than a dozen countries.
In March, Batali was also officially bought out of his restaurant group, which operates about 20 restaurants in multiple states, Tanya Bastianich Manuali and Joe Bastianich of the then-Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group said.
And a spokesperson for The Spotted Pig, a restaurant in New York City that Batali once had a stake in, told NBC News Tuesday that "over a year ago" Batali was also "100 percent divested" from that business.
Several former female employees of The Spotted Pig alleged that Batali sexually harassed or assaulted them, and the New York City Police Department opened a criminal investigation into Batali in 2018.
At the time, Batali "vehemently" denied any allegations of sexual assault.
Batali was charged in May with indecent assault and battery in Boston after a woman, who has also opened a civil case against the chef, accused him of groping and forcibly kissing her at a Back Bay restaurant in 2017.
Batali has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer Anthony Fuller said he "denies the allegations in both this criminal complaint and the civil complaint."
"The charges, brought by the same individual without any new basis, are without merit," Fuller said in a statement at the time. "He intends to fight the allegations vigorously, and we expect the outcome to fully vindicate Mr. Batali." The next hearing in the case is set for Aug. 30.
Batali apologized when the initial allegations, spanning two decades, first surfaced in 2017. He said the accusations did "in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong, and there are no excuses."
He was subsequently fired from hosting ABC's "The Chew," which was later canceled. The Food Network also canceled plans to reboot "Molto Mario," which first aired in 1996 and launched Batali to celebrity status.