San Francisco Chronicle

$600,000 resolves Batali case

- By Michael R. Sisak Michael R. Sisak is an Associated Press writer.

NEW YORK — Celebrity chef Mario Batali, his business partner and their New York City restaurant company have agreed to pay $600,000 to resolve a fouryear investigat­ion by the state attorney general’s office into allegation­s that Batali, restaurant managers and other workers sexually harassed employees.

The money will be split among at least 20 former employees of B&B Hospitalit­y and their Manhattan restaurant­s Babbo, Lupa and the nowclosed Del Posto, all of which Batali coowned with Joseph Bastianich until March 2019, Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday.

The company must also revise employee training materials and submit reports to the attorney general’s office for the next three years documentin­g harassment and discrimina­tion training and policies.

Batali, whose highflying career crumbled amid myriad sexual harassment and misconduct allegation­s, was accused in the New York investigat­ion of pulling a waitress’ hand toward his crotch as she served him and showing a waiter an unwelcome pornograph­ic video.

Chefs and managers at the Bataliowne­d restaurant­s were accused of degrading women with misogynist­ic comments and showing favoritism to male employees.

“Celebrity and fame does not absolve someone from following the law,” James said. “Sexual harassment is unacceptab­le for anyone, anywhere — no matter how powerful the perpetrato­r.”

Batali, known for his orange Crocs and ponytail, stepped down from daytoday operations at his restaurant empire and left the sincedisco­ntinued ABC cooking show “The Chew” in 2017 after four women accused him of inappropri­ate touching.

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