The NYPD confirm that they are investigating chef Mario Batali for sexual assault
As more and more stories surrounding the #MeToo movement come to surface, it's clear to see a lot of industries - if not all - need some heavy vetting. Now Mario Batali is being investigated for a second sexual assault allegation.
Just one day after a source at the New York Police Department confirmed to the Huffington Post that Batali is under criminal investigation for a sexual assault accusation, the New York Times is reporting another woman has come forward with a similar allegation.
According to the New York Times, the previously unreported complaint states that a woman told police on March 15 that Batali drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004 at Babbo, his restaurant in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The unidentified woman says she went to use the restroom upstairs and the next memory she had was waking up as Batali was raping her, according to an anonymous source familiar with the complaint.
In a 60 Minutes report that aired on CBS last Sunday, there were multiple accusers who discussed their stories with correspondent Anderson Cooper. On Monday, NYPD Lieutenant John Grimpel confirmed to People they are investigating allegations raised in the report.
Another woman from the program (whose identity was protected), accused Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her while she was unconscious in 2005 at the Spotted Pig, another Greenwich Village restaurant co-owned by restaurateur Ken Friedman, who was also accused of sexual harassment in December.
“I woke up by myself on the floor, I don’t know where I am, of an empty room, wooden floor,” said the woman, an employee at Babbo at the time. “I see broken bottles. The first thing I think is, ‘I’ve been drugged.’ That was the first thing I thought is, ‘I’ve been - I’ve been assaulted.'”
The woman says she was drinking wine with Batali before passing out. She reported the incident after finding scratches on her leg and apparent semen on her skirt, but did not file a complaint despite an NYPD detective encouraging her to do so.
In a statement, Batali says:
“I vehemently deny any allegations of sexual assault. My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions. I am not attempting a professional comeback. My only focus is finding a personal path forward where I can continue in my charitable endeavors - helping the underprivileged and those in need.”
On The Spotted Pig incidents in December, 10 women came forward in a New York Times article, describing how Friedman has allegedly been subjecting his employees to unwanted sexual advances for years.
“Many others also said that working for him required tolerating daily kisses and touches, pulling all-night shifts at private parties that included public sex and nudity, and enduring catcalls and gropes from guests who are Mr. Friedman’s friends,” the article reads.
Friedman issued an apology and then said his behavior is accurately described as “abrasive, rude and frankly wrong.” Reports concerning Batali' behavior are suggested to have spanned "at least two decades." Batali was fired from ABC's The Chew soon after.
In a statement to Eater, Batali said:
"Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”
Investigations like these should find more perpetrators.