Chef Batali under criminal investigation

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting an employee at one of his restaurants in 2005 in the new criminal investigation.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting an employee at one of his restaurants in 2005 in the new criminal investigation. PHOTO: AFP

ATLANTA • Celebrity chef Mario Batali, who already faces sexual harassment accusations from four women, is under criminal investigation by the New York Police Department for sexual misconduct, television programme 60 Minutes said on Sunday.

Batali, 57, "vehemently" denied the new allegations in a statement to CBS, which airs the show.

He is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting an employee at one of his restaurants in 2005 in the new criminal investigation, said the report.

The woman, whose name was not stated in the show, told correspondent Anderson Cooper she was invited by Batali to a party at the Spotted Pig, a trendy restaurant in New York's West Village owned by a friend of Batali's.

CBS concealed her face in the interview with shaded lighting. She said she was afraid the revelation of her identity would hurt her future job prospects in the industry.

"Who wants to be defined by their worst day in their life?" she asked.

Other restaurant workers told Cooper on the record that they witnessed Batali inappropriately touching other women.

The new accusations are the latest in the era of the #MeToo movement, which has ensnared media moguls and celebrities.

Batali was fired in December last year by ABC as co-host of The Chew, a daytime food show, and also stepped away from his restaurant company after the accusations by the four women first surfaced.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2018, with the headline 'Chef Batali under criminal investigation'. Print Edition | Subscribe