Former Employees Of Popular NYC Restaurant Allege Owner Had A 'Rape Room'

“I apologize now publicly for my actions," said Ken Friedman, owner of the beloved Spotted Pig.

By Eric Shorey

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]

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