Mario Batali Faces New Sexual Misconduct Claims: Chef Accused of Groping Fans

Several more women have come forward to accuse the celebrity chef of sexual misconduct, while he remains under police investigation over alleged sexual assault

By Corinne Heller May 30, 2018 10:47 PMTags

Several more women have come forward to accuse Mario Batali of sexual misconduct, while he remains under police investigation over alleged sexual assault.

The celebrity chef and former co-host of The Chew has in recent months denied allegations that he engaged in any nonconsensual sex, although he has apologized for "wrong" behavior."

Eater reported on Wednesday that seven women, fans and former employees, allege that Batali touched them inappropriately during incidents that took place between the mid-'90s and last October and that several provided photo evidence to the outlet. It posted a picture and video of what appears to be the chef kissing two women. The outlet said Batali declined to comment for this story. E! News has reached out to his rep for comment.

One of the new accusers, Natali Tene, accused him of groping and kissing her while taking selfies at a Boston bar in April 2017. 

"I was just in total disbelief when he touched me like that; I couldn't believe it when it was happening," she told Eater. "In the moment it was just so crazy, it was humiliating."

Mario Batali Will Not Face Charges for Alleged Sexual Misconduct
Lou Rocco/ABC

In December, Eater reported that four women, whose identities were not disclosed, had accused Batali of touching them inappropriately over at least two decades. Days later, ABC announced it had fired him from The Chew. The celebrity chef issued an apology, via a newsletter to fans, over his "wrong" behavior. His statement included a link to a recipe for cinnamon rolls.

Last week, CBS' 60 Minutes reported that Batali has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a female employee at one of his restaurants, The Spotted Pig, in 2005. The New York City Police Department then confirmed that it was investigating the allegation, Reuters reported.

"I vehemently deny any allegations of sexual assault," Batali said in a public statement at the time. "My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions."

The New York Times also reported last week that the NYPD is also investigating a complaint against Batali made by another woman, who claimed he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004 at another one of his restaurants, Babbo. Days after the media reports, ABC canceled The Chew

Eater quoted another new accuser, Rebecca Marshall, as saying that she met Batali at a charity event in January 2017 and approached him for a photo, after which he allegedly motioned for her to sit in his lap, she said. She said she complied, thinking that it was part of the party atmosphere, and that as her friend took photos of them, he allegedly kissed her on the check and the mouth. She wrote about the alleged incident on Cherry Bombe without naming Batali and confirmed to Eater the piece was about him.

"Did I do anything to make Chef think it was okay to stick his tongue in my mouth??" she wrote. "I can say, with the hindsight of nearly a year, absolutely not."

Another woman, Sharelle Klaus, told Eater that she met Batali via a mutual friend in 2012 while leaving a restaurant in Aspen and that they took a photo together, after which he allegedly thrust his hand down her pants and groped her bare butt.

"In one moment you go from being really excited to meet this guy, who's like a hometown hero, to just disgust," she said. "He obviously has no shame."

Sara Watson, told Eater that she had met Batali at her local dive bar in New Orleans in 2016 and asked him for a photo, after which he allegedly groped her and made sexual comments. Her boyfriend confirmed her account, the outlet said.

"When someone does something as gross as Batali did, you'll never forget it, but what are you going to do?" Watson said. "You kind of chalk it up to one terrible night and move on."

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