TV star and popular chef, Mario Batali, is stepping down from his company and TV show for an indefinite period of time after being accused of habitually sexually harassing and inappropriately touching women as he ruled his food empire.
Several anonymous women spoke to Eater magazine and accused Batali of groping their breasts or buttocks, amid other things. Batali acknowledged personal "failures" without revealing details, and pledged to try to "regain" the "respect and trust" of his fans, family, business partners and employees.
He released a statement that said, "I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. 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."
He said, "That behavior was 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."
ABC has also confirmed that it has temporarily removed Batali as co-host of his daytime show, The Chew, while the network reviews the allegations against him.
Chef and food writer Allison Robicelli says Batali's misconduct was bordering on "common knowledge" in the food industry.
She said, "He would behave in a certain way knowing he could get away with it. There are hundreds of women who have been scared to say anything" about him.
Source: USA Today