by Marc Hurwitz
One of the biggest names in the food world is leaving his restaurant empire for now after news of sexual misconduct has been released.
According to an article from Eater, Mario Batali says that he is "stepping away from the day-to-day operations of his businesses" for an unknown period of time following allegations of inappropriate behavior that reportedly go back at least two decades based on multiple interviews by Eater, while ABC's The Chew has asked him to step away from the show while they "review the allegations that have just recently come to their attention."
The businesses that Batali is stepping away from include two in Boston - Eataly in the Prudential Center and Babbo in the Seaport District, both of which are part of the Batali & Bastianich (B&B) Hospitality Group.
B&B said in a statement that it has had sexual harassment training and policies for 10-plus years, and is now bringing in an independent corporate investigations firm that will help any workers looking to make claims against owners of their restaurants.
"We take these allegations very seriously," the B&B statement said. "We pride ourselves on being a workplace for our employees where they can grow and deliver great service with equal opportunity and free from any discrimination. We have strong policies and practices in place that address sexual harassment. We train employees in these policies and we enforce them, up to and including termination."
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Celebrity chef Barbara Lynch, a chief collaborator at Eataly Boston, called the allegations against Batali "horrifying, unacceptable and inexcusable." She commended the women for coming forward, saying "their brave voices will bring change to the restaurant industry." She also said she is glad to see that Batali has accepted responsibility for his actions.
Eataly USA also issued a statement, saying the allegations against Batali were "extremely troubling" and that they fully support his decision to step away from active involvement with the company.
"Sexual harassment of any kind towards anyone in any form is unacceptable and Eataly cares deeply about creating a safe and comfortable environment for all our employees and customers, free of harassment, discrimination and retaliation," Eataly said.
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