Mario Batali

Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Under Investigation by NY Attorney General

Batali was an investor in The Spotted Pig, which settled harassment claims Tuesday

State Dinner Italy
AP

What to Know

  • NY Attorney General Letitia James says her office is investigating celebrity chef Mario Batali
  • The Batali probe comes out of a separate investigation, settled Tuesday, into The Spotted Pig, where he was once an investor
  • Batali has apologized for his past behavior but repeatedly and forcefully denied allegations of sexual assault

New York authorities are investigating celebrity chef Mario Batali after uncovering information during a separate probe of a Manhattan restaurant, the state's attorney general said Tuesday.

The state announced a sexual harassment settlement Tuesday for 11 former employees of West Village restaurant The Spotted Pig, where Batali was once an investor.

Attorney General Letitia James, at a news conference on that settlement, said Batali was not a main target of the Spotted Pig probe but was now under investigation too.

"As a result of our investigation we have received credible information about his alleged actions and are therefore separately looking into him, his business partner, his management company and his three restaurants. We would like to encourage all of those individuals who are survivors of his abuse -- his alleged abuse -- and/or any witnesses to contact our hotline," James told reporters.

The NYPD opted a year ago not to press charges against Batali. They had been looking into several allegations following a "60 Minutes" broadcast in 2018, in which an unnamed woman accused Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2005.

Police were unable to find any witnesses or evidence that might help corroborate claims, a source familiar with the investigation said at the time. 

Separate from the New York investigation, Batali pleaded not guilty to indecent assault charges in a Boston court last May. That case is still pending.

Batali stepped down from daily operations at his restaurant empire and cooking show "The Chew" in December 2017 after four women accused him of inappropriate touching over a period of 20 years. 

Batali's food empire once included such high-end eateries as Babbo in Del Posto in New York City, as well as restaurants in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Singapore, and Eataly in Boston. He became a household name through appearances on Food Network shows such as "Iron Chef America."

He announced last March that his longtime partner, Joe Bastianich, and others had bought out his share in his restaurants.

He has said in a statement, "My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions," though he denied the accusation of sexual assault that were broadcast on "60 Minutes."  

Contact Us