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Mario Batali faces sexual misconduct investigation; B&B Hospitality and Eataly are cutting ties with him

Mario Batali faces sexual misconduct investigation; B&B Hospitality and Eataly are cutting ties with him
A woman has accused Mario Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2005. Batali denied the allegations. (Brent N. Clarke / Associated Press)

B&B Hospitality Group and Eataly are cutting ties with Mario Batali amid news that the New York Police Department is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct levied against the celebrity chef.

B&B provides back-office and operational services for 24 restaurants owned at least in part by Batali. The chef is a minority shareholder in Eataly USA, which has Italian-style marketplaces in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Boston.

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The NYPD confirmed the investigation following a "60 Minutes" broadcast Sunday night in which an unnamed woman accused Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2005.

The unnamed woman said she remembers joining him for a glass of wine at a Manhattan restaurant, then waking up on the floor feeling drugged and assaulted. She said she talked to the police but never filed a report.

Batali issued a statement to CBS denying that he assaulted the woman.

On Monday, B&B Hospitality Group said its partnership with Batali was ending.

Calling the allegations "chilling and deeply disturbing," B&B said in a statement that it had been "actively negotiating" with Batali to buy his interests in the restaurants, and that he and Joe Bastianich — who co-owns several restaurants with Batali and chef Nancy Silverton — have signed a letter of intent that sets the broad terms to do so.

The terms are expected to be finalized by July 1, with current investors such as Bastianich and Silverton participating in the acquisition. A company spokesman declined to comment on Batali's current ownership stake.

Batali "has been our partner and close friend," B&B said in the statement, "but the actions he has acknowledged required us to separate wholly so that we reinforce our core values for our employees and our guests."

Also on Monday, Eataly said it has started a process to "compel the divestiture" of Batali's "small, minority interest in Eataly USA." In a statement, a spokesperson said Batali has had no direct involvement with Eataly since December.

Batali stepped down from daily operations at his restaurant empire in December after four women accused him of inappropriate touching over a period of 20 years in an investigation published by Eater.

Days later, ABC said that it terminated its relationship with Batali and that the chef would no longer be part of the network's daytime show "The Chew." Batali had appeared on the show since 2011.

Batali has apologized for his behavior, saying in December that much of what the four women described matched up with ways he had acted, and that it "was wrong and there are no excuses."

His culinary empire was vast, with his brand spanning dozens of restaurants in six U.S. states and Singapore, and his name attached to several culinary products. He is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks.

Batali has had a strong presence in Southern California, including his Mozza restaurants in Los Angeles and Newport Beach and the Eataly marketplace that opened at the Westfield Century City mall in November.

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The Associated Press was used in compiling this report.

UPDATES:

9:55 a.m.: This article was updated to include a statement from Eataly.

8:30 a.m.: This article was updated to include more details about Mario Batali's culinary empire, including its footprint in Los Angeles, and a statement from B&B Hospitality Group.

This article was originally published at 7:10 a.m.

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