It’s no secret that the latter half of 2017 has been somewhat of a reckoning for perpetrators of sexual assault in the entertainment industry. One of the latest dominos to fall was celebrity chef Mario Batali, host of ABC’s cooking show The Chew and part owner of the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, a restaurant-management company that supports 24 restaurants, some of which are owned by Batali.
While the chef has since admitted to his inappropriate behaviour and apologized profusely, what was supposed to be his regretful acknowledgement looks very different (read: a lot worse) than the others. In an online newsletter on Friday—Batali’s second apology—the chef said: “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.”
After asking his fans for forgiveness and understanding, Batali signed the statement with a postscript that plugged his recipe for Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls, which are, according to Batali, a “fan favourite.” Kind of unbelievable, right?
If you haven’t seen the Mario Batali apology, you should. Starts off ok, but he includes a recipe at the end.
Not making this up. pic.twitter.com/tsHcFVDmh3
— Matt Kelly (@SoMattKelly) December 16, 2017
Mario Batali’s apology to the people who might stop spending money on his brand including a cinnamon bun recipe was worse than tone deaf. It was insulting to his victims.
Real remorse comes with rehabilitative action, not pun fodder. #disgusted
— Jaira McClain (@JairaMcClain) December 17, 2017
“Karen, these Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls are delicious! Where did you get the recipe?”
“Oh, just from Mario Batali’s sexual misconduct apology email.” pic.twitter.com/6g86Mz47Xk
— Matt Rorabeck (@mattrorabeck) December 16, 2017
MARIO BATALI: How do we address the sexual harassment?
PR TEAM: With a heartfelt apology.
MB: A cinnamon roll recipe should do the trick.
PR: That’s a horrible idea.
MB: Yeah, let’s go with that.
PR: You need to apologize.
MB: OK. Quick apology and then rolls.
PR: We’re doomed. pic.twitter.com/dy7aIHUyDV
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) December 16, 2017
We’ve seen some pretty brutal “apologies” (or so they’re called), but this one might take the cake. Talk about tone-deaf.
On December 11, Eater released an investigation in which four anonymous women—three of whom worked for Batali in a professional capacity—accused him of inappropriate touching, a pattern of behaviour which spans at least 20 years. Among the reports, one woman said the chef repeatedly grabbed her from behind and held her tightly against his body, another said that he groped her and once, asked her to straddle him, and the third and fourth women explained that he groped their breasts in two separate scenarios.
According to Eater, a spokesperson for Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group said that the company received its first and only formal complaint against Batali in October 2017, when a restaurant employee officially reported inappropriate behavior by Batali. Batali was reportedly reprimanded and required to undergo training.
Batali issued a statement in response to Eater‘s investigation in which he says the allegations “match up” with ways he has behaved in the past, and as such he will remove himself from the day-to-day operations of Batali & Bastianich for an unknown length of time. The company also said that, although it has had sexual harassment policies in place for more than 10 years, it will now work with an independent investigations firm for any staffers wishing to disclose claims of sexual assault against owners of the restaurants. ABC has also asked Batali to step away from The Chew while they review the allegations. Batali will remain owner of his individual restaurants.
In his first statement, Batali 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 behaviour described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behaviour 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.”
Batali continued: “I have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed. For this reason, I am going to step away from day-to-day operations of my businesses. We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behaviour. I won’t make that mistake again. I want any place I am associated with to feel comfortable and safe for the people who work or dine there.”
Batali has yet to address the reactions to his second apology, but that’s probably because he couldn’t craft another statement without sharing his fave tips for creating the perfect puff pastry. And TBH, that’s fine—we’re not interested in anymore half-assed apologies. His PR people already have enough on their plates, anyway.
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