He’s in hot water now. Mario Batali is facing a charge of indecent assault and battery related to an alleged 2017 incident at a Boston restaurant, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday, May 22.
The disgraced celebrity chef, 58, has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, but this is believed to be the first criminal charge he’s facing.
Eater first broke the news in December 2017 that he was stepping back from his restaurant empire after four women accused him of inappropriate behavior. Since then, more have stepped forward with accusations.
At the time, he didn’t deny the allegations in Eater, but offered up an apology in a statement to the publication. “I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt,” he said at the time. 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 is 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.”
Since the accusations and subsequent police investigations, Batali’s restaurant group has ended its partnership with the chef. He also lost his spot on ABC’s The Chew.
While the DA’s office did not name the accuser in the case, The Boston Globe reports that the details match up to those in a civil lawsuit filed by a Boston woman in 2018. According to that lawsuit, as the woman posed with Batali for a selfie in a restaurant, “Without asking her permission or giving her any warning, and without having received any indication that she had any sexual interest in him whatsoever, which she did not, Batali sexually assaulted her.”
She had also told police that the chef grabbed her breast when he put his arm around her, and claimed that he kissed her and touched her groin without her consent.
Batali’s attorney told CNN that the star denies the allegations in the woman’s civil suit, as well as in the criminal complaint.
“The charges, brought by the same individual without any new basis, are without merit,” attorney Anthony Fuller told the cable news network. “He intends to fight the allegations vigorously, and we expect the outcome to fully vindicate Mr. Batali.”
According to The Boston Globe, he could face two and a half years in jail and would be required to register as a sex offender if he’s convicted. Batali’s arraignment is set for the morning of Friday, May 24.