Culture

Mario Batali Has Finally Severed All Ties To His Restaurants


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Over a year after Chef Mario Batali was credibly accused of sexual harassment and assault by multiple women, his partnership with the Bastianich family has formally ended. In other words: he has officially given up his restaurants. He is also reportedly in the process of giving up his minority stake in Eataly, a popular grocery and restaurant chain operating in Italy and the United States.

In December 2017, Batali was accused of sexual misconduct by at least four women, three of whom alleged that he assaulted them. New York Times and Eater investigations blew the lid off the situation and Batali was promptly fired from his hosting gig on ABC’s The Chew. He initially took a leave of absence from his restaurants, then announced in April 2018 that he would be severing ties with the Bastianich family, the famous food family with whom he ran an expansive restaurant group. That partnership is officially dissolved as of Wednesday, March 6 — over a year after the reports first became public.

According to the New York Times, Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group has been dissolved and will be reformed to “operate the group’s remaining 16 restaurants under a new management and financial structure.”

Tanya Bastianch Manuali, new head of operations of the as-yet-unnamed hospitality group, told the Times that Batali “will no longer profit from the restaurants in any way, shape or form.” Manuali and brother Joe Bastianich, who started cult-classic Babbo with Batali over 20 years ago, bought out Batali’s shares but refused to discuss specifics. Babbo’s website has scrubbed all mention of Batali.

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Since reports about Batali first came out in late 2017, the restaurant group has suffered significant losses, with six of their restaurants shuttering and a contract with the Sands Casino Group in Las Vegas being terminated as a result. Bastianich has claimed that he was “unaware” of any inappropriate behavior from Batali, though he did acknowledge in a statement released on March 5, “While I never saw or heard of Mario groping an employee, I heard him say inappropriate things to our employees. Though I criticized him for it from time to time, I should have done more. I neglected my responsibilities as I turned my attention away from the restaurants. People were hurt, and for this I am deeply sorry.”

Three former employees, however, tell the Times they find it difficult to believe that Bastianich wasn’t aware of Batali’s misconduct. Babbo also made headlines in January 2018 when longtime head chef Frank Langello was ousted after reports of sexual misconduct. Meanwhile, all criminal charges against Batali have reportedly been dropped.

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