It’s been some time since Mario Batali’s name appeared in the headlines, longer still since it appeared in connection with food or one of his restaurant ventures. Now he’s back — not behind a stove but in the news.
Last Wednesday, CNN broke the news that the portly, ponytailed chef had settled two lawsuits with women who had accused him of touching them inappropriately in separate incidents in 2016 and 2017.
The first of the suits, by Natalie Tene, alleged that in 2018 Batali rubbed her breasts, kissed her, and groped her buttocks and groin area at a Boston restaurant. The second, filed in 2018 by Alexandra Brown, made similar claims.
Batali has repeatedly denied both allegations.
The CNN article notes that the two women’s attorneys refused to specify whether the settlement agreement includes an admission of wrongdoing. Let me refresh the CNN writers’ memories by pointing out that in December 2017, when the stories of alleged sexual misconduct by Batali first came to light, he issued a mea culpa — if it can be called that. Batali wrote in his newsletter:
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 behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility.
But then he rendered his words hollow by adding a P.S. to his post cum photograph, reading:
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