Back in December of 2017, Mario Batali stepped down from his lucrative restaurant and media empire amid shocking allegations of sexual misconduct.
The accusations against Batali were appalling, to be sure, but it wasn’t long before they were overshadowed by the many other scandals of the #MeToo era.
There was a time when it was widely believed that with enough time and the right PR strategy, Batali might eventually be able to find a path to redemption and return to the industry that made him famous.
But now, a report from Anderson Cooper that aired during Sunday night’s episode of 60 Minutes seems to have exposed the very worst of Batali’s misconduct and laid waste to his hopes for a comeback.
In the segment, Cooper spoke with multiple women who claim to have been victimized by Batali.
One former employee stated that Batali groped her breasts and alleged that she saw him sexually assault another woman, who was only semi-conscious and appeared to have been drugged.
She added that she and several other employees put a stop to the attack.
Today, a spokesperson for the NYPD confirmed that police are “investigating allegations raised in the 60 Minutes report.”
One of the women who accused Batali on 60 Minutes told CNN today that she spoke with police back in February, thus indicating that the investigation has been going on for several months.
As with Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein before him, Batali’s behavior was something of an open secret in his industry.
After the public learned of the allegations that the 57-year-old had harassed and assaulted numerous female employees, several denizens of the New York restaurant world stated that they were sadly not surprised.
Over the course of his decades as a chef and media personality, Batali had developed a reputation for crude comments and predatory behavior.
“You will eat your pasta or I will rub the shrimp across your breasts,” he told a friend’s wife during a now-infamous meal that was later documented in print.
“It’s not fair I have this view all to myself when you bend over. For dessert, would you take off your blouse for the others?” he remarked to a waitress during the same dinner.
But even those who long been aware of Batali’s penchant for boorish behavior are shocked today by the revelation that he may have drugged and assaulted several women that he employed.
Batali declined to be interviewed by 60 Minutes, but he issued a statement reading in part:
“My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions.”
We will have further updates on this situation as more information becomes available.