Celebrity chef Mario Batali has stepped away from his restaurant businesses and his duties as co-host of ABC's "The Chew" amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Eater.com reports that four women have accused Batali of sexual misconduct going back to the 1990s. The accusations include groping and inappropriate touching. At least three of the women have worked for Batali in some capacity.
Batali issued the following statement, apologizing for the alleged behavior that he says matches up with how he has acted.
"I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.
I have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed. For this reason, I am going to step away from day-to-day operations of my businesses. We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior. I won't make that mistake again. I want any place I am associated with to feel comfortable and safe for the people who work or dine there.
I know my actions have disappointed many people. The successes I have enjoyed are owned by everyone on my team. The failures are mine alone. To the people who have been at my side during this time - my family, my partners, my employees, my friends, my fans - I am grateful for your support and hopeful that I can regain your respect and trust. I will spend the next period of time trying to do that."
ABC has asked the popular chef to step down from "The Chew" while the allegations are under review.
"We have asked Mario Batali to step away from The Chew while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention," according to an ABC statement. "ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment. While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct."
Variety reports the Food Network has also put on hold plans to relaunch the series, "Molto Mario."