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#MeToo reaches the upper echelon of the food world

Mario Batali attends the Food Bank for New York City Can-Do Awards Dinner 2017 on April 19, 2017 in New York City.
Mario Batali attends the Food Bank for New York City Can-Do Awards Dinner 2017 on April 19, 2017 in New York City.
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Food Bank for New York City

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Mario Batali, one of the most well-known restaurateurs in the country, is taking a leave of absence from co-hosting the ABC show “The Chew,” as well as from the day-to-day operations of his restaurant empire.

The move is prompted by allegations brought up by a number of women who accused Batali of inappropriate sexual conduct for in the last two decades.

Batali is one of the owners behind Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles.

The allegations were first reported by the food website, Eater, which also published a statement from Batali addressing the allegations:

I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.

I have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed. For this reason, I am going to step away from day-to-day operations of my businesses. We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior. I won’t make that mistake again. I want any place I am associated with to feel comfortable and safe for the people who work or dine there.

I know my actions have disappointed many people. The successes I have enjoyed are owned by everyone on my team. The failures are mine alone. To the people who have been at my side during this time — my family, my partners, my employees, my friends, my fans — I am grateful for your support and hopeful that I can regain your respect and trust. I will spend the next period of time trying to do that.

With KPCC reporter Libby Denkmann as guest host


Kitty Greenwald, food writer; she writes the weekly column “Slow Food Fast” for the Wall Street Journal; she co-wrote the Eater piece “Mario Batali Steps Away From Restaurant Empire Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations