Chef Mario Batali was a Food Network mainstay on shows like ‘Molto Mario’ and ‘Iron Chef America.’ The high-flying career of the ponytail and orange Croc-wearing star came crashing down due to sexual misconduct charges. It was recently revealed that the celebrity chef’s sexual misconduct trial is set to begin today in Boston.
According to Daily Mail, celebrity chef Mario Batali’s pandemic-delayed sexual misconduct trial started on Monday in Boston. In 2019, Batali pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery charges coming from allegations that he forcibly kissed and grabbed a woman after taking a photo with her at a Boston restaurant in 2017.
According to the lady, Batali observed her photographing him and urged her to take one with him, then repeatedly groped and kissed her without her consent. If convicted, Batali could face up to two and a half years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender. Lawyers for Batali declined to comment ahead of the start of jury selection in Boston Municipal Court on Monday. Lawyers for the chef have already stated that the claim is without merit.
His accuser has also filed a civil case against Batali in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston, demanding unspecified damages for ‘severe emotional distress.’ Batali is one of several high-profile men who have received public scrutiny as a result of the #MeToo social movement against sexual assault and harassment in recent years.
In 2017, four women accused him of inappropriate touching, prompting him to stand away from day-to-day operations at his restaurant empire and leave the since-discontinued ABC cooking show ‘The Chew.’ Batali has apologized, admitting that the allegations ‘match up’ with how he has acted.
“I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team. My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility.”
Batali, his former business partner Joe Bastianich, and their New York City restaurant company agreed to pay $600,000 last year to settle a four-year investigation by the New York attorney general’s office into allegations that Batali, restaurant managers, and other workers sexually harassed employees. They agreed to pay a $600,000 settlement to the 20 men and women who claimed they were sexually harassed at their restaurants.
In Boston, Batali launched a Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca in the city’s Seaport District in 2015, as well as a branch of the famed Italian food marketplace Eataly in the downtown Prudential Center in 2016. Batali’s investment in Eataly, which still has dozens of locations globally, including one in Boston, has subsequently been purchased. The city’s Babbo restaurant has now closed as well.
This is Batali’s final opportunity to save his career. Let’s wait and watch what happens when Batali arrives in court. To get the latest updates, keep an eye on Thirsty.
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