Speed Reads

'shameful behavior'

Mario Batali and business partner to pay $600,000 after sexual harassment probe

Chef Mario Batali, his former business partner Joseph Bastianich, and their management company are set to pay $600,000 to the alleged victims of sexual harassment and discrimination at their restaurants. 

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the settlement on Friday, which came following an investigation into allegations of "unwanted touching, sexual advances, and explicit comments made by managers and coworkers to other employees of the restaurants" owned by Batali, Bastianich, and B&B Hospitality. They will pay $600,000 to "at least 20" former employees, James said. 

Batali announced in 2017 he would step away from his business after multiple women came forward to allege he had sexually harassed them, and he officially exited his restaurants in 2019. He later pleaded not guilty to charges of indecent assault and battery,

An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General found that B&B, Batali, and Bastianich "engaged in unlawful sex discrimination and retaliation, in violation of state and city human rights laws," and employees were allegedly "sexually harassed by Batali, restaurant managers, and other coworkers," James said. Batali is accused of sexually harassing a female server, as well as showing a male server an "unwelcome pornographic video." Additionally, chefs and managers at the restaurants allegedly "blatantly favored male employees" and made misogynistic remarks, and the employers allegedly didn't take appropriate action when sexual harassment was reported.

In addition to the $600,000 settlement, James said training materials at the restaurants will also have to be revised, and biannual reports must be submitted to the Office of the Attorney General. 

"Batali and Bastianich permitted an intolerable work environment and allowed shameful behavior that is inappropriate in any setting," James said. "Every individual deserves to work in a safe environment, and today's agreement marks one more step towards remedying workplace harassment."