Letitia James, New York State Attorney General announced on Friday that Chef Mario Batali, restaurateur Joe Bastianich, and the restaurant group formerly known as B&B Hospitality requested payment of US $ 600,000 as part of an agreement reached as part of the bureau’s investigation into sexual harassment and discrimination allegations Dollars of at least 20 former restaurant workers were fined against the group. That first reported the news.
The attorney general’s investigation revealed that Batali, Bastianich and the restaurant group – which also includes Babbo, Lupa and the closed gourmet restaurant Del Posto – had committed gender-based discrimination and retaliatory measures that violated the human rights of the city and the state, the announcement said Offices . As previously reported, restaurant workers in the state’s investigation alleged that the restaurants were sexually harassed by managers and employees, including „unwanted touch, sexual advances and explicit comments.”
„I have endured constant, escalating sexual harassment throughout my tenure at Del Posto,” said Brianna Pintens, a former Del Posto server, in a statement announcing the settlement. „Management routinely ignored these behaviors, apologizing for the perpetrators, and often blaming the victims to avoid dealing with a workplace culture rooted in fear and humiliation.”
As part of the settlement, the restaurant group will also need to revise its training materials in all restaurants and provide semi-annual reports to the Attorney General’s office – including „Harassment and Discrimination Training and Policy Records” – demonstrating compliance for the next three years.
Sexual harassment allegations against Batali were first made public in 2017 when several women, including three former employees, alleged the cook had committed a pattern of harassment, including inappropriate touching and sexually explicit comments. In another report, dozens of ex-Group employees alleged that they had committed sexual misconduct across the company for over a decade. Batali resigned after the allegations and financially separated from the restaurant group in 2019.
The attorney general’s office still determines how many employees will receive payments from the settlement and how high these payments will be according to the Times. A similar settlement was reached in the case of former Spotted Pig restaurateur Ken Friedman, who agreed to pay $ 240,000 and share in the restaurant’s profits with 11 former employees alleging sexual harassment and discrimination in the restaurant. Friedman closed the restaurant in the month of the settlement and excluded employees from profit sharing. Still, former Spotted Pig server Trish Nelson, who was sexually molested by Friedman and was involved in the settlement, tells the Times: „While $ 20,000 over five years is ridiculous to most, women like us feel like $ 20 million.”
While the prosecutor general’s investigation led to an agreement, Batali is still facing several civil lawsuits and possible criminal proceedings, according to the Times. One of the lawsuits filed by Natali Tene accusing Batali of indecent assault and bodily harm is due to be heard on September 15.
- Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich promoted a „boys” club culture of restaurant misconduct, dozens of allegations [Eater NY]
- Mario Batali resigns from the restaurant empire after allegations of sexual misconduct [Eater NY]