Fifth Woman Accuses Chef Mario Batali Of Sexual Misconduct

Joanna Estrada
December 14, 2017

Famed chef Mario Batali was known as "the Red Menace" to staffers at one of his favorite Manhattan eateries because of his unwanted sexual advances, according to a report Tuesday.

Actress and comedian Siobhan Thompson told "CBS This Morning" on Monday that Batali inappropriately touched her breasts while she was a hostess at his restaurant Del Posto in NY. Later that night, Gunderson said she was leaning over a high-top table when Batali put his hand between her legs "so his hand went on my vagina outside of my clothes". She said the first incident was when Batali grabbed her butt without her consent.

The actress joins four other women, three of them being former employees like Thompson, that accused Batali of sexual harassment.

Batali took leave from his restaurants, as well as ABC's The Chew, to deal with the aftermath of the allegations.

Today, his "The Chew" co-hosts released their own statement on Twitter, saying, "Our commitment to our viewers remains the same - to deliver the entertaining show that you've come to expect".

Batali didn't deny the allegations, telling Eater in a statement, "I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt". "In that moment I realized, 'I'm just a body [to him],'" the woman told Eater.

The woman said Batali brusquely requested cigarettes, and she obliged. That behavior was horribly wrong, shameful and degrading and there are no excuses.

The woman said she complained to Spotted Pig co-owner Ken Friedman, and he told her to "Get in f-king line". "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". Batali told the site he will be taking a break from day-to-day operations of his businesses for an unspecified period of time. "This is still your industry, you're a leader in this industry - if you behave this way, what kind of example are you setting?"

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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