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Disgraced Celebrity Chef Mario Batali's Trial For Allegedly Groping and Forcibly Kissing A Woman Set for April
Once one of America's most famed chefs, Mario Batali will be heading to trial in Boston over charges that he groped and forcibly kissed a fan while taking a selfie with her.
Disgraced celebrity chef Mario Batali, whose food empire nose-dived amid a stew of sexual harassment and misconduct complaints, is set to stand trial in April for allegedly forcibly kissing and groping a fan after posing for a selfie with her four years ago in a Boston restaurant.
The trial is scheduled for April 11 in Boston Municipal Court, according to the Associated Press. Batali, 61, pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery charges in May of 2019.
Known for his signature ponytail and orange crocs, Batali was once one of America’s most famed chefs with shows on the Food Network and the now canceled ABC show, “The Chew.”
He was forced to resign from the day-to-day operations of his restaurants and left the ABC cooking show after four women accused him of inappropriate touching in 2017.
Batali apologized for his behavior.
“My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility,” he wrote in an online message. “Sharing the joys of Italian food, tradition and hospitality with you all of you, each week, is an honor and a privilege. Without the support of all of you – my fans – I would never have a forum in which to expound on this… I will work every day to regain your respect and trust.
Over the summer, Batali and his business partner, Joseph Bastianich, agreed to pay $600,000 to at least 20 former employees to settle a four-year investigation by the New York Attorney General's Office into complaints of sexual misconduct.
The investigation found that workers faced a daily barrage of unwanted groping, kissing, hugging, sexual advances, and explicit comments.
Batali once made sexually explicit comments to a female server, forcibly grabbed her hand while she was serving him and pulled it toward his crotch, according to a summary of the settlement. He also showed a male server an “unwelcome” pornographic video.
“Celebrity and fame does not absolve someone from following the law. Sexual harassment is unacceptable for anyone, anywhere — no matter how powerful the perpetrator,” Attorney General Letitia James said then in a statement announcing the settlement. “Batali and Bastianich permitted an intolerable work environment and allowed shameful behavior that is inappropriate in any setting. Every individual deserves to work in a safe environment, and today's agreement marks one more step towards remedying workplace harassment.”