Famous People Who Can't Stand Mario Batali

Celebrity chef Mario Batali and the culinary empire he built over the course of nearly three decades seemed too big to fail. His reach was vast. Through his partnership with fellow famous restaurateur Joe Bastianich and their Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, Batali had amassed a small kingdom of highly-regarded restaurants across the United States, authored more than a dozen cookbooks, and attracted a devoted following as a Food Network superstar. Batali's seemingly infallible domain, however, would inevitably collapse, rotting from the inside out. 

In 2017, the popular food and dining publication Eater broke a story about allegations of sexual misconduct against Batali made by four women who had either been under his employ or had worked directly with the restaurant-owner and television personality. In the Eater piece, accusations ranged from inappropriate touching and grouping to lewd conduct to overtly sexual remarks. Soon after the expose went live, later reporting revealed claims of outright sexual assault

The timing meant that Batali became one of the first high-status men within the realm of food culture to be implicated in the first wave of the #MeToo movement. What ensued was a steep and rapid fall from grace in the form of criminal charges. It also didn't help that some of Batali's contemporaries were all too happy to speak out against him. Batali's list of adversaries is long — and the stories behind them paint a larger picture of how his behavior resulted in some major consequences.

Business partner Joe Bastianich cut ties with Mario Batali

After allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against chef Mario Batali came to light, one of the most shattering blows to his career came from his former business partner, restaurateur and cooking competition host Joe Bastianich. 

The dissolution of their partnership was swift. Just days after Eater published its scathing story about Batali in December 2017, Bastianich relinquished co-ownership of Batali and Bastianich Hospitality Group, which the pair founded in 1998. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, the Becco and Eataly founder denied ever personally witnessing inappropriate behavior or having knowledge of Batali's alleged actions, but Bastianich did admit that the aftermath of Batali's ousting forced him to "[reexamine] my own behavior to ensure that everyone I work with feels that respect."

"The stories I have read and heard these past two weeks about Mario and our company have shaken me to the core," the former MasterChef told The Hollywood Reporter. After admitting he "didn't do enough to protect my employees," Bastianich asserted that "I'm now refocusing my energies here where they belong, and have already taken specific steps to do so."

While Bastianich's actions seem admirable, they're not entirely borne from the Batali scandal alone. In January 2018, Bastianich also came under fire for reportedly making racist and sexist comments while appearing on an Italian television show (via Grub Street).

Anthony Bourdain sided with Mario Batali's accusers

Culinary television personality, reputed author, and former confidante Anthony Bourdain, a chef who was known for a good feud or two himself, was one of the first to disavow the actions of Mario Batali, who was charged with indecent assault and battery in 2019.

In a piece posted on Medium only one day after the Eater piece went live, Bourdain was frank with his followers about his relationship with his old friend."In these current circumstances, one must pick a side," Bourdain wrote. "I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women." Bourdain extolled the courage of those who came forward, reiterating that survivors "risk a crushing level of public skepticism, vilification, shaming, and retribution" and that "they have nothing to gain, and everything to lose." 

Bourdain said his once-glowing opinion of Batali had completely changed. "Any admiration I have expressed in the past for Mario Batali...however much I admired and respected [him], is, in light of these charges, irrelevant," he said. 

Mario Batali banned Gordon Ramsey from restaurants

Gordon Ramsay might be known for his culinary expertise, but he's also equally known for a television ratings-worthy temper — and as any fan of MasterChef, Hell's Kitchen, or any other of the hot-headed chef's television programs knows, it's not a temper you'd want cast anywhere in your general direction. Alas, cuisine-oriented cohort Mario Batali seemingly never got the memo about Ramsey's propensity for lashing out

Though it's hard to pinpoint the exact moment Ramsay and Batali became bonafide high-status rivals, the feud became the stuff of headlines after Batali banned Ramsay from setting foot in his many restaurants. The reason? As the New York Post reported in 2009, the Ramsay embargo was due to a nickname he'd supposedly been floating around in the culinary circles of Manhattan. "[He] goes about town calling me Fanta Pants," Batali told the press, explaining the reason for the Ramsay-non-grata policy. It's worth noting that Batali has also gone on the offensive in the past, reportedly slamming Ramsay for dull cuisine.

Giada de Laurentiis 'wasn't surprised' by the allegations

During the initial fallout after Mario Batali's sexual misconduct allegations surfaced, one of the first things to go was his gig as a co-host on ABC's The Chew, which he starred in alongside fellow gourmands Clinton Kelly, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, and Giada de Laurentiis. (The show, which ran for seven seasons, was canceled shortly after Batali got the boot.) While some of his Chew cohorts expressed surprise over the accusations against Batali, one member of the team wasn't having it.

"I did not have those exact experiences with him, but it doesn't come as a huge shock," de Laurentiis told the hosts of Eater's Upsell podcast. While de Laurentiis referred to her former colleague as a "charismatic person," she quickly clarified that she "wasn't legitimizing it by any means." The Everyday Italian star said, "I think any woman in any business goes through stuff. I think that we need to change our culture, and the children need to learn to respect human beings, no matter what you look like, who you are, male or female...someone says they don't wanna do something, they don't wanna do it, period."

De Laurentiis' words are backed by troubling statistics. According to NPR, a 2014 survey conducted by the nonprofit Restaurant Opportunities Centers United found that 66 percent of female restaurant workers reported experiencing sexual harassment in some form from managers, with 80 percent experiencing incidents involving sexual misconduct from co-workers.

Carla Hall's relationship with Mario Batali is complicated

Much like her former Chew co-star Giada de Laurentiis, Carla Hall has denied experiencing or witnessing inappropriate behavior on the part of her former colleague, Mario Batali, with whom she worked with from the show's first season in 2011 to Batali's termination in 2017. 

"Mario never displayed those kinds of actions toward me — it was only respect and very generous in terms of his knowledge in the industry," Hall told People in October 2018, not long after the ABC cooking show was canceled after a seven-season run.

Though Hall has discussed her positive relationship with Batali during their time as co-hosts on The Chew, she has also made a point to state that her personal relationship with him does not preclude the validity of allegations of misconduct made against him by other women or hamper her ability to sympathize with the experiences of survivors. "I'm very sorry for the women who have had these experiences," said Hall, who has since gone on to star in the British baking competition Crazy Delicious. "It's tough as a woman because I want women to feel like they are safe."

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org for additional resources.