Mario Batali steps away from 'The Chew' amid allegations of sexual misconduct

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Batali, who has since stepped down as co-host on ABC's "The Chew" as well as his own businesses, stressed that it's "as much about awareness as it is about training", and noted that his company provides twice-a-year sexual harassment training for its employees.

Eater New York reported that four women, who were not identified, accused Batali of touching them inappropriately in a pattern of behavior that spanned at least two decades.

One woman told the site he groped her breasts after offering her a job, while another claimed he ordered her to straddle him.

"Minutes into their conversation, she recalls, he told her, 'Come work for me, I'll pay you double what you're making.' Moments later, someone bumped her glass, spilling wine all over her chest and down her scooped-neck shirt".

One of the accusers, a chef and fan of Batali, introduced herself to him at a party about 10 years ago. A spokesperson for Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group says an employee reported inappropriate behavior by Batali in October, the Associated Press reported.

The Times-Picyaune report alleging a widespread culture of sexual misconduct at the Best Restaurant Group.

"The behavior was wrong and there are no excuses", Batali continued.

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In the article, a number of other current and former employees at Batali's restaurants described bullying and lewd behavior.

Batali is the second high profile celebrity to leave his positions regarding sexual assault allegations following Russell Simmons, who left his own companies following the revelation of alleged allegations. "I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused".

I have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed.

Batali said in the statement that he was stepping away from day-to-day operations of his businesses as he works to regain people's trust and respect.

"We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior", Batali wrote. The Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group owns or operates several restaurants, including Babbo in NY and Carnevino Italian Steakhouse in Las Vegas. "But when several people are willing to go on record, I think we have to pay attention and take them seriously". "Food Network takes matters like this very seriously and we are putting relaunch plans for Molto Mario on hold", the statement reads. "While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct".

I know my actions have disappointed many people. The failures are mine alone. In light of these allegations, which were revealed in-depth investigation from Eater, the Food Network is halting the release of a relaunched Molto Mario. "I will spend the next period of time trying to do that", he said, declining to specify how long that period might be.

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