Ken Friedman, owner of the critically beloved Spotted Pig restaurant in New York City, is now facing a series of sexual harassment allegations. In a large-scale expose published in The New York Times, reporters reveal a series of hideous allegations being made against the noted restaurateur. One particularly horrific story involves a "rape room" inside one of his eateries.
Alongside specific accusations with detailed descriptions of incidences of forced kissing and non-consensual groping, former employees of the Spotted Pig restaurant discussed an extreme culture of sexually inappropriate behavior that was pervasive at the location.
“There is a grab-ass, superfun late-night culture — I love that part of the industry. But there is a difference between fun and sexualized camaraderie and predation. When you are made to feel unsafe or dirty or embarrassed, that is a different thing," said the former wine director of the Spotted Pig, Carla Rza Betts.
Sexually inappropriate behavior was so ubiquitous that the VIP, invitation-only third floor of the Spotted Pig became casually known as the "rape room" to employees. Despite being a spot where celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kanye West hung out, employees began fearing the area. Guests, including the recently-accused Mario Batali, could allegedly be seen openly groping staff or unconscious women.
“Though I don’t remember these specific accounts, there is no question I have behaved terribly,” Batali has said in response to the accusations. “There are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused.”
“Some incidents were not as described, but context and content are not today’s discussion,” Friedman has said in a statement. “I apologize now publicly for my actions.”
Friedman co-owns a series of New York restaurants including the Breslin Bar & Dining Room, the John Dory Oyster Bar, Salvation Taco and White Gold Butchers, along with Tosca Cafe in San Francisco and the Hearth & Hound in Los Angeles.
[Photo: Getty Images]