Mario Batali Denies Disturbing New Allegations of Drugging, Sexually Assaulting Woman in 2005

The NYPD confirmed to '60 Minutes' that Batali is currently under criminal investigation.
May 21, 2018, 3:32pm
Photo: Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Last night, 60 Minutes aired a segment titled "Treating Servers Like They're 'Part of the Menu'" featuring interviews with former employees of Manhattan's The Spotted Pig, which was revealed to be a hotbed of sexual harassment and misconduct in a New York Times exposé last December.

Disgraced celebrity chef Mario Batali, who was a frequent patron of the restaurant, also faced serious accusations of sexual misconduct last December, and was forced to step down from his role as a co-host of The Chew as well as from his restaurant empire.

Now, in response to queries made following the 60 Minutes report, the New York Police Department has confirmed to multiple news outlets that Batali is currently under an ongoing criminal investigation. The NYPD declined to offer details about the charges, but according to the women interviewed for the segment, the alleged incidents took place at the Spotted Pig. During one incident in 2008, former Spotted Pig manager Jamie Seet says that she and other staff witnessed Batali groping a woman who appeared to be unconscious, and intervened to stop him. In another incident dating back to 2005, a former Spotted Pig employee who chose to remain anonymous alleged that Batali drugged and sexually assaulted her after meeting for a drink at the restaurant.

"I woke up by myself on the floor, I don't know where I am," the woman told Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes. "I see broken bottles. The first thing I think is 'I've been drugged.' That was the first thing I thought is, 'I've been—I've been assaulted.'"

She says that she did go to the police at the time, but ultimately decided not to follow a report because she was "a young actress, no resources, no money."

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Batali has issued a statement denying the 2005 incident.

“I vehemently deny the allegation that I sexually assaulted this woman," the statement reads. "My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions. I am not attempting a professional comeback. My only focus is finding a personal path forward—a path where I can continue in my charitable endeavors—helping the underprivileged and those in need.”

In a statement, Batali's restaurant company B&B Hospitality Group—which he co-founded with Joe and Lidia Bastianich—characterized the new allegations from 60 Minutes as “chilling and deeply disturbing." The group says that it was not aware of the allegations prior to the segment, and clarified that its "partnership with Mr. Batali is ending.”

“We have been actively negotiating with Mr. Batali to buy his interests in the restaurants, and he and Joe Bastianich have signed a letter of intent that sets forth the broad terms to do so. We expect to have the final terms set by July 1, and that Nancy Silverton, Lidia Bastianich, Mr. Bastianich, and other current investors will participate in the acquisition,” the statement says.

MUNCHIES has previously worked with Batali on the series Moltissimo and he has appeared on other MUNCHIES shows. He is also featured in the MUNCHIES cookbook.