Mario Batali is a greasy-haired slob who acts like a complete dick.
Consider this backgrounder from 2011:
Mario Batali is in legal hot water yet again. Fourteen months after being hit with a lawsuit by employees who claimed he and his partners had skimmed off a portion of the tip money at his LA restaurant Mozza, he finds himself embroiled in another employee lawsuit.
TMZ reported Thursday that Eugene Gibbons, a former waiter at Batali’s Greenwich Village restaurant Babbo is suing a group of co-workers, who he says regularly groped him while he worked at Babbo. The suit claims that the co-workers repeatedly smacked his buttocks and grabbed his genitals. One allegedly bragged that he would masturbate to Gibbons’ picture in bed after his wife had fallen asleep.
The stakes are at least as high — the case involves sexual harass ment — though Batali himself isn’t the defendant, just a named party in the case. Gibbons alleges that Batali was aware of the pattern of harassment and did nothing to intervene.
Gibbons claims the harassment eventually got so bad that he was forced to quit his job at Babbo.
For what it’s worth, Batali is known for occasionally exhibiting raunchy behavior. Writer Bill Buford, in his account of working at Babbo, Heat, mentions Batali’s penchant for using arousal metaphors when talking about food and restaurants.
An example, from Buford's 2002 New Yorker profile of Batali:
(In Batali’s language, appetites blur: a pasta made with butter “swells like the lips of a woman aroused,” roasted lotus roots are like “sucking the toes of the Shah’s mistress,” and just about anything powerfully flavored—the first cherries of the season, the first ramps, a cheese from Piedmont—”gives me wood.”)
Batali was a big deal in Seattle then, and I made a note to never set foot in his eateries, ever:
'“I had a natural affinity for the kitchen, and my mother and grandmother had always told me that I should be a cook. In fact, when I was preparing my college applications my mother suggested cooking school, but I said, ‘Ma, that’s too gay. I don’t want to go to cooking school—that’s for fags.’ “ But five years later Batali showed up for his first day at the Cordon Bleu in London.'
And now Mario Batali has had his Weinstein Closeup, admitting that he's been creeping women pretty much forever, and so often he can't remember them:
“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.He underscored the point yesterday:
Batali told the [New York] Times in a Tuesday email, “Though I don’t remember these specific accounts, there is no question I have behaved terribly.”
How do these slovenly Jabbas of commerce, politics, and media imagine themselves such babe magnets? And how do they pull off such a convincing impersonation of decent human beings?
Here's Batali yesterday:
Bullying is a horrible thing , Have this young man dm me, i would love to talk with him https://t.co/0i3NgUBMBX— Mario Batali (@Mariobatali) December 10, 2017
Then there's this new New York Magazine header:
Mario Batali Appeared on a Sexual-Harassment Panel Just 6 Weeks Ago
Eater, which broke the Batali story with lots and lots of lurid stories by victims, nearly all off the record in fear of his vindictiveness, notes,
[H]is affable persona belies another, more crude reputation, according to dozens of interviews. Batali’s lewdness, his crass way of speaking about women, and his focus on women’s bodies have been well known within certain circles in the restaurant world, according to people who spoke with Eater.The New York Times reports of Batali's regular appearances at an after-hours space in a New York club:
A former server told the Times about Batali, “We called him the Red Menace.” She continued, “He tried to touch my breasts and told me that they were beautiful. He wanted to wrestle. As I was serving drinks to his table, he told me I should sit on his friend’s face.”